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Yes, You Might Be Arrested for Drunk Cycling

Bicycling is an excellent way to get around a city. Not only does it provide great exercise, you also don’t have to worry about expensive gas prices. Since the millennium, the amount of Americans who use bicycles to commute to work has increased by 43%. It’s not uncommon to see a row of bicycles locked on poles near neighborhood pubs and bars. This begs the question: Can one get a DUI on a bicycle? The answer to this question depends solely on where you live, but it is possible to be arrested for drunk cycling.

Don’t hop on your bike after finishing that lager before knowing your state’s laws regarding cycling under the influence. In the state of Georgia, for example, operators of all moving vehicles are subject to a DUI. This means that whether you are in a car, scooter, bicycle, or skateboard, if you have had too much to drink you can be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. The only difference between drunk driving and drunk cycling is that tipsy cyclists don’t have to worry about losing their driver’s license. In California, it is illegal to hop on a bicycle while intoxicated. You are subject to harsh penalties if you are stopped for drunk or drugged cycling. A CUI, or cycling under the influence, conviction comes with a $250 fine, a criminal record, and potentially an additional drunk in public charge. Furthermore, if you are under the legal drinking age, you run the risk of losing your driver’s license.

Many states are looking into the legality behind non-automobile DUIs. These DUIs involve “other motor vehicles”, such as ATVs, golf carts, riding lawn mowers, and bicycles. While it true that cyclists do not pose as much of a danger on the roads as drivers operating two-ton cars capable of driving up to 120 miles per hour, drunk cyclists are a threat to themselves and other pedestrians. Approximately 1/4th of all cyclists killed in traffic collisions had a BAC of 0.08 or higher.

On the other hand, cyclists in New York are free to bike home after a drinking at their favorite local bars. In New York, driving under the influence requires one to operate a motor vehicle. Motor vehicles, by state law, are defined as vehicles which are propelled using any force other than the operator’s body. In other words, cyclists are exempt from receiving a DUI. However, if you are cycling drunk and arouse suspicion by acting recklessly, you run the risk of being arrested for public intoxication and, potentially, public endangerment.

Washington State has one of the most relaxed drunk cycling policies in the country. With no official DUI law in relation to cyclists, you are completely free to hop on your bike after an evening of drinking. If a police officer spots you drunk cycling, he or she may even offer you a ride home. Even if you appear to be too drunk to cycle, your bicycle will probably just be impounded free of charge until you collect it at a time when you are sober and alert.

What to do if you’re arrested for drunk cycling:

Overall, drunk cycling can be tricky. In some states it’s a blatant DUI and in others it’s a gray area. Many lawmakers are worried that a stricter stance against cycling while drunk will lead to more drunk drivers behind the wheel of an automobile. If you find yourself to be unjustly arrested for cycling in public, contact a DWI lawyer immediately. Consultations are usually free.