Featured News 2015 Bicycling Under the Influence, a Crime?

Bicycling Under the Influence, a Crime?

Each year, the number of bicyclists grows and so does the number of people who ride while under the influence of alcohol. Whether a rider decides that two wheels is healthier than four, or if they ride because it's better for the environment, riding isn't always safe.

Thanks to the efforts of law enforcement and campaigns, the public has received ample warning about the dangers of drinking and driving. But, what about riding a bicycle while under the influence? Sounds safe, right?

Sometimes It's a Crime

Police and lawmakers take bicycling under the influence seriously. While DUI is criminalized in each state, the laws against bicycling under the influence are not consistent from state-to-state. In some states the penalties for drunk bicycling are the same as driving under the influence, incurring jail and significant fines.

California for example, criminalizes riding a bicycle on a public road while intoxicated. While this offense is a misdemeanor, it is a separate offense from DUI involving motor vehicles. Distinct from a DUI, it does result in a criminal conviction and riders under 21 may have their driver's license suspended for one year.

In Washington, a police officer may stop a bicyclist who appears to be intoxicated and take them to a safe place, but they cannot arrest them for BUI. In Arizona, officers can take a rider into protective custody if they believe that the rider is too drunk to ride a bicycle safely.

Even if you live in a state that does not have a law against bicycling under the influence, officers may arrest you for another offense, such as disorderly conduct or public intoxication.

Although each state has taken a different approach to bicycling under the influence, the dangers are well-documented. A study by Johns Hopkins University found that when riders have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 percent, their risk of a serious injury increases by 2,000 percent.

Arrested for bicycling under the influence? Contact a DUI attorney today!

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