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Have you ever cycled home from the bar or a friend’s house after a few drinks?
Cycling home certainly may seem safer than getting behind the wheel of a car. This is also a cheaper and more environmentally friendly option than calling a cab.
Many people believe that they are perfectly safe cycling after a couple of drinks. However, getting pulled over by the cops and perhaps getting a ticket is sure to ruin your buzz.
So, if you are wondering, ‘can you get a DUI on a bike?’, it’s time to find out…
What is a DUI?
DUI stands for Driving Under the Influence and refers to people operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol. DUI is typically defined as having .08% or more by weight of alcohol in the blood. Because it is measured by body weight, the exact amount of alcohol that can be consumed varies from person to person.
A DUI can also be given if someone is impaired by another type of controlled substance. Because intoxication is an observed state, it is usually a judgment call made by the police officer at the time. It is generally based on observed behavior while the person is driving and after the police stop them.
How Are Biking DUI Laws Defined?
Generally speaking, someone commits a DUI offense by driving on a highway or public premises such as in a park, inebriated. In most states, the first DUI conviction is seen as a misdemeanor.
Whether or not you will be chaged with a DUI on a bike depends on how the state applies the drink driving law. In some states, the law only applies to motor vehicles. However, in other states, it applies to all types of vehicles, including bicycles.
How to know?
It is essential to understand that in the USA, DUL laws vary from state to state. Therefore, it is necessary to check out the DUI laws in your particular state. This is especially important if you have just moved to a different state in the USA.
Different Types of Bicycles
In many states, whether or not you can get a DUI on a bike depends on the type of bike you ride. These days, many bikes are powered by a small electric motor. This motor allows cyclists to go much faster than they would on a traditional bicycle.
Bikes with motor-assisted propulsion are not usually considered to be motor vehicles. However, the Criminal Code does not have a definition for motor-assisted bicycles. Therefore, bikes with a motor fall into a grey area legally.
If a police officer sees you operating a bike under the influence, it will fall to their discretion whether or not to stop you. If you are weaving all over the road or otherwise riding unsafely, you are likely to get stopped and breathalyzed. This can also be the case if you are riding a traditional bike without a motor.
Types of Offences
So the answer to, ‘Can You Get a DUI on a Bike?’ is a definite yes, if your state regards it as an offense. Moreover, a DUI is generally the most substantial driving charge there is and can come with a severe fine. Although you will not receive demerits on your license, it should be avoided at all costs. In some cases, the police officer could even decide to put a drunk cyclist in a holding cell overnight.
Cyclists may also be charged for public intoxication, which can escalate to more severe charges. Impaired cyclists run the risk of cycling into oncoming traffic and causing serious traffic accidents. If the police officer considers them to be a risk, the cyclist could be charged accordingly.
If the cyclist is being loud and unruly, they could also be charged for disturbing the peace. This can apply to any cyclist who is drunk in public, even if they are pushing their bike rather than riding it.
The Dangers of Drinking and Cycling
Regardless of whether or not it is punishable by law, cycling while drunk is dangerous. Many people believe that cycling while drunk is much safer than operating a car, and this may be true. However, drunk cyclists still pose a significant risk to themselves, anyone else on the road, and even pedestrians.
Not only does cycling while drunk expose you to a greater danger of having an accident, but even a relatively small amount of alcohol can have a significant effect on how well you can ride your bike. Alcohol lowers your ability to focus on multiple tasks such as cycling while watching the road around you.
And just general poor judgment…
People who have consumed alcohol have a reduced ability to judge distance and speed. Alcohol also leads to slower reaction times, impaired vision, and judgment of obstacles. This means that you may not be able to stop in time if another vehicle suddenly pulls into your lane.
Alcohol is known for lowering inhibitions and increasing the tendency to take unnecessary risks. While alcohol gives people a sense of euphoria, it reduces the doubt that causes people to focus when they drive. So, although cycling while drunk may feel good, it can genuinely lead to a severe accident.
Safety Tips for Cyclists
In order to avoid getting a DUI or another type of fine, it is best to avoid cycling while drunk. There are also a number of other precautions that cyclists can take. This includes wearing a bicycle helmet when on the road and making sure the helmet is in good condition.
It is essential to make sure that you are visible when driving at night. Make sure that there are lights on the front and rear of your bike. It is also a good idea to add reflectors to your bike and wear clothing that makes you visible.
Always use bike lanes when they are available and stick to the side of the road if not. Give hand signals before turning to make sure other drivers understand where you are going. Also, stay a meter away from parked cars to avoid being hit if the door opens suddenly.
Cool Bike Accessories for Visibility
No matter what type of bike you ride, customizing it is a real joy. Adding different gadgets and gizmos to your bike helps to make it your own and make the riding experience more enjoyable. Moreover, they can increase your visibility on the road, which is paramount whether intoxicated or not.
So, here are some cool bike accessories that no cyclist should be without…
Portland Design Works Owl Water Bottle Cage – Coolest Water Bottle Cage for Bicycle
This cool water bottle cage has been created in the shape of an owl. It is easy to attach to the frame of your bike and will securely hold your water bottle. It also comes in a range of other cool styles, such as Sparrow, Lucky Cat, and Very Good Dog.
Hiplok DX Bicycle U-Lock – Coolest Bicycle Lock
Owning a solid bike lock will allow you to park your bike and walk home if you need to without concern. While this bike lock is compact enough to fit in your pocket, it is also powerful and durable. It boasts a 14mm hardened steel shackle that is impossible to cut through even with a hacksaw.
Cotopaxi Mariveles Del Dia Duffel – Coolest Duffel Bag for Cyclists
This one-of-a-kind duffel bag is made in the Philippines and can hold a lot of gear. It is large enough to hold everything you need for a one or two-day cycling trip. The bag is easy to attach to your bike frame and folds up small when not in use.
Activ Life LED Bicycle Wheel Lights – Coolest Bicycle Wheel Lights
If you enjoy cycling at night, these unique wheel lights will help to make sure you are visible to motorists. You are provided with a set of lights for the front and rear wheels. The lights come in a wide range of cool colors, including purple, green, red, blue, and multicolor.
GLE2016 Bicycle Bell – Coolest Bicycle Bell
This cool bike bell has been created in a retro style and is created from durable aluminum alloy. It is designed to be very easy to attach to bike frames and will remain firmly in place. It emits a loud and clear sound to alert your presence to other motorists and pedestrians.
As mentioned, I recommend carrying one of the recommended products from my Best Breathalyzers Reviews with you when cycling, so you can always check yourself before heading home after a drinking spree.
Then, for more of my reviews of biking accessory must-haves, check out the Best Bicycle Tires for Gravel Riding, the Best Bicycle GPS Trackers, the Best Bicycle Tire Pressure Gauges, the Best Bike Helmets, and the Best Bike Lights currently on the market.
Back to today’s question…
Now You Know!
Whether or not you can get a DUI on a bike depends on several different factors. However, it is essential to note that there are other types of charges that you could face for cycling while intoxicated. If you are caught, you could face reckless driving or public driving charges.
Therefore, it is best to avoid cycling while intoxicated at all costs. It is a good idea to carry a self-breathalyzer when you are heading to the bar. This will allow you to check your alcohol level and take a cab home if you are over the limit.