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  1. #1
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    NC changed DWI law so that you can be charged on a BIKE!

    for the life of me i don't understand the public policy rationale for this change. until December 1, DWI cannot be charged on a horse, lawnmower or bicycle. after 12/1, you can ride drunk only on horse. now what is more dangerous? a 600 pound horse or a 25 pound bike? i can't imagine the legislature's thinking.

    are there any states where DWI can be charged on a bike other than North Carolina?

  2. #2
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  3. #3
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    Either we're vehicles or we're not. You shouldn't be drunk on a bicycle, especially in traffic.

  4. #4
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    A drunk cyclist is going to be a bigger danger to others because there are a lot more of them than horseback riders, and they tend to be in or near traffic and pedestrians.

  5. #5
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    Though that said, you are probably a far bigger danger to yourself on a bike than you are to anyone else. Cars are designed to keep the person inside alive no matter how drunk they are.

  6. #6
    pan y agua merlinextraligh's Avatar
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    well perhaps you're ok as long as the horse is sober.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
    well perhaps you're ok as long as the horse is sober.
    That's probably true. Horses aren't stupid, the worst you could do is fall off. It's not like the horse is going to let you charge full speed into a bridge abutment or a parked car.

  8. #8
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    Horses have been killed in traffic, according to one news report I read, while being ridden by a drunk rider.

  9. #9
    Can't ride enough! Da Tinker's Avatar
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    Heck, we have laws against suicide.

    If you are the operator of a vehicle, DUI laws shouls apply. Down here in the swamp, a horse & rider is defined as a vehicle, so you can get a DUI there, as well.
    Happiness begins with facing life with a smile & a wink.

  10. #10
    Life is short Ride hard
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    I would find it hilarious if you and the horse got pulled over. Would they cuff the horse as well?

  11. #11
    No-Pants Island bbonnn's Avatar
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    You could also do a lot of damage by walking around drunk -- defacing buildings with urine, falling into shrubbery, stepping into traffic, getting into fistfights. There are laws against "public intoxication" if you're really being obnoxious in that circumstance, but they don't affect your driving record and insurance rates. The same should definitely be true for drunk cycling. If you're making an azz of yourself and hurting others, you can get into trouble for public intoxication, but cycling while drunk shouldn't be illegal in and of itself. The level of havoc and damage you can do is not nearly comparable to that of an automobile.

  12. #12
    Speed Demon *roll eyes*
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    Not old news in Ontario, always been this way (always being defined as a very long time ;p). .08% bac? better not ride a bike, or even walk one, you can be charged. You can also be charged for being in a car with its keys (ie: sleeping in back seat, playing tunes while waiting for the cab, etc) if you are the only key holder in the car.
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  13. #13
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    exactly

    no license is required to ride a bike. this is a DWI conviction under the law enacted with all the aggravators and conviction points and everything that apply to regular driving drunk. so, if you ride drunk twice and get caught, you can do up to 24 months in prison in NC and a mandatory split of 30 days at the minimum on 2nd conviction. 4 convictions in 10 years (and i know one would be drinking oneself to death before this happened) could result in a felony conviction of Habitual Impaired Driving with a permanent lifetime license suspension. this is insane. in NC bikes are vehicles but the worst one could do on a bike and suffer DRIVING consequences was get a reckless driving citation until now. is .08 really the per se standard of appreciable impairment in NC beyond which operation of a bike is illegal? yep.

    this is going overboard. if they really wanted to do this and do it reasonably they could have spliced it in the section regarding underage consumption where you are punished like a DWI but you don't get the same conviction level with aggravating factors et al that can land your butt in prison for a long long time.

    this law will encourage drunks whose licenses have been suspended for DWI to drive rather than ride, cos the punishment and consequences are the same. stupid imho.


    Quote Originally Posted by bbonnn
    You could also do a lot of damage by walking around drunk -- defacing buildings with urine, falling into shrubbery, stepping into traffic, getting into fistfights. There are laws against "public intoxication" if you're really being obnoxious in that circumstance, but they don't affect your driving record and insurance rates. The same should definitely be true for drunk cycling. If you're making an azz of yourself and hurting others, you can get into trouble for public intoxication, but cycling while drunk shouldn't be illegal in and of itself. The level of havoc and damage you can do is not nearly comparable to that of an automobile.

  14. #14
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    DWI is a broad definition

    NC defines operation as either being under the wheel with the ignition on and stationary and/or moving with the engine off or comination thereof. so yeah, we have cases where guys are parked on the side of the road drunk but with the car idling for heat or entertainment purposes with no evidence of actual "driving" as one normally understands it.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtsmile
    Not old news in Ontario, always been this way (always being defined as a very long time ;p). .08% bac? better not ride a bike, or even walk one, you can be charged. You can also be charged for being in a car with its keys (ie: sleeping in back seat, playing tunes while waiting for the cab, etc) if you are the only key holder in the car.

  15. #15
    Speed Demon *roll eyes*
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddtext
    no license is required to ride a bike. this is a DWI conviction under the law enacted with all the aggravators and conviction points and everything that apply to regular driving drunk. so, if you ride drunk twice and get caught, you can do up to 24 months in prison in NC and a mandatory split of 30 days at the minimum on 2nd conviction. 4 convictions in 10 years (and i know one would be drinking oneself to death before this happened) could result in a felony conviction of Habitual Impaired Driving with a permanent lifetime license suspension. this is insane. in NC bikes are vehicles but the worst one could do on a bike and suffer DRIVING consequences was get a reckless driving citation until now. is .08 really the per se standard of appreciable impairment in NC beyond which operation of a bike is illegal? yep.

    this is going overboard. if they really wanted to do this and do it reasonably they could have spliced it in the section regarding underage consumption where you are punished like a DWI but you don't get the same conviction level with aggravating factors et al that can land your butt in prison for a long long time.

    this law will encourage drunks whose licenses have been suspended for DWI to drive rather than ride, cos the punishment and consequences are the same. stupid imho.
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  16. #16
    Speed Demon *roll eyes*
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddtext
    NC defines operation as either being under the wheel with the ignition on and stationary and/or moving with the engine off or comination thereof. so yeah, we have cases where guys are parked on the side of the road drunk but with the car idling for heat or entertainment purposes with no evidence of actual "driving" as one normally understands it.
    It would take a prosecuter about 10 seconds to prove intent to drive. This is how it is handled here. I do not know how it is handled where you live. Thing is, different places handle this problem in different ways. And, it works this way Canada wide since we have ONE criminal code for the whole country.
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  17. #17
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    i guess children will not be able to ride bicycles (of as you say "vehicles") until they obtain government issued licenses to drive motor vehicles then. should we have government issued inspection stickers and documents stuck all over bicycles to show proper maintanance compliance and road worthiness? will we be required to obtain insurance policies on the bicycles we ride as most states require of drivers of automobiles? you want a bulky license tag hanging from the rear of your seat for which you must pay a fee to obtain annually to ride your bike in a public vehicular area? sheesh!

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtsmile
    Bikes are a vehicle, and subject to the same rights and laws, or they are not. You cannot have it both ways.
    Last edited by oddtext; 08-02-06 at 07:17 PM.

  18. #18
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    in NC there is no intent element of DWI it's a strict liability offense. if it happens and the elements of operation (as defined in my other post) and impairment are proven you are guilty. which is fine. i just think this is silly as applied to a bike, or unicycle, trike (recumbent 3-wheeler is DWI proof), rollerblades, skateboards etc -- all of which the new law is silent on but for the bicycle. btw, i'm a lawyer and know NC law inside out on this issue.

    Quote Originally Posted by sgtsmile
    It would take a prosecuter about 10 seconds to prove intent to drive. This is how it is handled here. I do not know how it is handled where you live. Thing is, different places handle this problem in different ways. And, it works this way Canada wide since we have ONE criminal code for the whole country.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by oddtext
    i guess children will not be able to ride bicycles (of as you say "vehicles") until they obtain government issued licenses to drive motor vehicles then. should we have government issued inspection stickers and documents stuck all over bicycles to show proper maintanance compliance and road worthiness? will we be required to obtain insurance policies on the bicycles we ride as most states require of drivers of automobiles?
    A bicycle is a vehicle, and no government issued license is required to operate a bicycle, regardless of age.

    In my opinion, if the legislature determines that it wants to discourage drunken bicycling (a position I agree with), then it should do so without attaching the same penalties that apply to drunk driving. One can very easily legislate against drunk cycling (a bicycle is a vehicle, after all), without making it the same offense as drunk driving. I think the states that either make it a lesser offense, or retain some control over it, as in California, South Dakota or Washington, have the right approach. The States that make it the same offense as drunk driving, as in Oregon and North Carolina, have the wrong approach.

    In my opinion.

  20. #20
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    thank you! this is my point. a bike is a vehicle but it is of a very different quality from a motor vehicle and the punishment should be different. in NC we have reckless driving and that was pretty serious in terms of license points and insurance penalties. i think it was enough. if the state needed more, they could have done as you say by distinguishing the crime from motor vehicle operation while impaired which is the evil DWI prosectutions seek to redress and most people fear -- certainly not riding a bike drunk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Blue Order
    A bicycle is a vehicle, and no government issued license is required to operate a bicycle, regardless of age.

    In my opinion, if the legislature determines that it wants to discourage drunken bicycling (a position I agree with), then it should do so without attaching the same penalties that apply to drunk driving. One can very easily legislate against drunk cycling (a bicycle is a vehicle, after all), without making it the same offense as drunk driving. I think the states that either make it a lesser offense, or retain some control over it, as in California, South Dakota or Washington, have the right approach. The States that make it the same offense as drunk driving, as in Oregon and North Carolina, have the wrong approach.

    In my opinion.

  21. #21
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    What is a total farce is that Public Intoxication laws exist on the books in most if not all states. Use them and quit wasting taxpayers money and time making up addtional laws that can't be kept up with. And FWIW I have seen reports in NC of a person riding a horse down the middle of a 6 lane road at 2am in the morning, drunk, and had a couple of gallons of untaxed liquor (moonshine). He was booked on several charges, the moonshine and the horse were impounded Yes riding while intoxicated should be a chargeable offense but I don't see why you couldn't use the PI laws. I really think a lot of times the lawmakers are just trying to justify their existence.

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  22. #22
    Senior Member rthomse's Avatar
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    It's probibly as a result of convicted DUI drivers using bikes after they lose there license.They do it all the time.

  23. #23
    |+|+|+|+|+|+| * jack *'s Avatar
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    oh well, I enjoyed that loophole while it existed...

  24. #24
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    The "Either/or" people on the "vehicles" question really need a reality check. The world ain't so black and white. There are a million things that can be regarded as a "vehicle" and they are very different from eachother.

    You can get a DUI on a bike here but it is very very rare that a cop will enforce it. On the last critical mass a guy got a ticket for an open container because he was being a dick to a cop. So he really got the ticket for being a dick to the cop but the beer in his hand was just the easiest thing to write up. Unfortunatly that caused a lot of neo-prohibitionists to come out of the woodwork on the CCM email list... I think the question is if the cops will enforce the law. Probably in some rinky-dink town where the cop is a hard ass looking for things to do this could be a problem. But if the cops are sensible it will be ignored.

  25. #25
    jwc
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    Quote Originally Posted by * jack *
    oh well, I enjoyed that loophole while it existed...
    Yep, so did I.

    There have been a couple of bike riders killed in my area of NC riding home from bars intoxicated. Of course, they were riding after 2am and riding without lamps.

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