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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    DC Cyclist's Drunk Driving Conviction Upheld


  2. #2
    L T X B O M P F A N S R apricissimus's Avatar
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    If the cyclist hadn't almost hit somebody, would he have been pulled over? I hope not. Overall I'd rather see drunks on bikes than in cars.

  3. #3
    jamesss
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    How long will his biking license be suspended?

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    I'm band already? lubes17319's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jamesss View Post
    How long will his biking license be suspended?
    90 days.......during which he will be forced to commute by car.
    Who cares what your bike weighs, just ride it!

  5. #5
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Equal rights, equal responsibilities.

    I think that there should be modifications to the severity of the law in proportion to the lesser risk that a bicycle poses to pedestrians, other cyclists, and motorists.

    Somebody nails me with a car and puts me in the hospital-- throw the book at them. Someone nails me with a bike and breaks a bone-- punish them accordingly.

    I don't want advocacy to equal total impunity for bikes. Riding a bike when you're THAT drunk is a lesser of two evils, but still an evil.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  6. #6
    Senior Member Seattle Forrest's Avatar
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    Standalone is 100 % on the mark.

    I had a friend who liked to get roaring drunk, and then bike down the hill. One night he woke up in the back of a jeep, with a torn plastic back window. He never would have crashed if he'd had his wits about him. And while he got the bruises, the people who owned the jeep weren't thrilled. The bottom line is that riding a bike when you're very drunk is a bad idea, and it puts more than just the rider at risk, so it's other peoples' business as well. And, as Standalone pointed out, it puts other people ( and their property ) at much less risk than driving a car drunk, so it should be treated much less severely by the law.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    The risk of going to court is not just that a cyclist can lose, but that precedent will be set.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

  8. #8
    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    I don't think I buy the argument that this guy put people in any less danger than if he had been on a car. First off, if you read the case he nearly ran down a young child. Maybe there's some difference between getting run down by a car vs a bike to that child, but I'm not sure it's worth that much. Secondly, supposing the fool had put his bike in traffic and forced cars to swerve around him, possibly causing a crash that killed somebody.

    I do have one question, however. In the case, the police told the bicyclist to "move on". Did they honestly think that this drunk would have gotten off and walked his car all the way home, wherever that was? That doesn't mitigate the bicyclist's responsibility, but it's just something to wonder about.
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  9. #9
    zac
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    It's not that a precedent would be set, and we can debate the public policy issue ad nauseam.

    The appeal of this case simply turned on the DC's wording of their OUI statue. The plain wording is "whoever...upon a way...operates a vehicle...while under the influence..." In DC bicycles are "vehicles." This was the sole issue before the appellate court.

    Not all jurisdictions OUI statues are so worded. Many are limited to "motor vehicles" and as such, bicycles are generally excluded, unless otherwise specifically included.

    Obviously you should know the law of the state that you are riding in.

    Generally, the great majority of LEOs are not going to proceed in this manner and make an OUI/DWI arrest for drunk cycling, in the jurisdictions in which it is allowed. I think the key factor here was the fact that the bicycle rider almost caused injury. He also could have been a well known party to the police and they basically just had had it with him too. While I am not a fan of selective enforcement of laws, there are many circumstances where the police exercise restraint and choose not to issue an arrest/complaint for an incident.

    BTW, IAAL, but not yours, and the above is not legal advice
    zac

  10. #10
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    It's a good precedent, as far as it goes in "elevating" bikes in the universe of all vehicles.

    And, certainly not all drunk drivers of motor vehicles are spotted and cited, just like many drunk cyclists are not detected / cited.

  11. #11
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pueblonative View Post
    I don't think I buy the argument that this guy put people in any less danger than if he had been on a car. First off, if you read the case he nearly ran down a young child. Maybe there's some difference between getting run down by a car vs a bike to that child, but I'm not sure it's worth that much. Secondly, supposing the fool had put his bike in traffic and forced cars to swerve around him, possibly causing a crash that killed somebody.
    You aren't sure of the difference in the likely damage to the human body (no matter what its size) between being struck by a bicycle or a car?

    That would explain your bringing up that tired old wives tale of swerving motor cars crashing wily-nilly avoiding a wayward cyclist. Yes it could happen, anything could happen; try and stop supposing and deal with reality.

  12. #12
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    Even if the law in your state only makes DUI a motor vehical offense, there are still laws against public intoxication and drunk & disorderly which could be applicable to a drunken cyclist.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    That would explain your bringing up that tired old wives tale of swerving motor cars crashing wily-nilly avoiding a wayward cyclist. Yes it could happen, anything could happen; try and stop supposing and deal with reality.
    I've seen it happen.

  14. #14
    zac
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elkhound View Post
    Even if the law in your state only makes DUI a motor vehical offense, there are still laws against public intoxication and drunk & disorderly which could be applicable to a drunken cyclist.
    It's funny you should mention those. Most statutes dealing with public "drunkenness/intoxication" and "drunk & disorderly" have been ruled unconstitutional, at least with respect to the criminal aspect as it applies to being intoxicated. Despite that, most are still on the books and codified by statute.

    Generally you can be placed into what is called a protective custody and released promptly to a responsible party, or detained until you are no longer an imminent danger to yourself or others.

    HTH
    zac

  15. #15
    Perineal Pressurized dobber's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
    And, as Standalone pointed out, it puts other people ( and their property ) at much less risk than driving a car drunk, so it should be treated much less severely by the law.
    That is of course until you fatally injure someone. If you're operating a vehicle under the influence it should make no difference whether its a bike, a boat or a car.

    There can be no zero tolerance when exceptions are made. Is a shooting less of a shooting if a smaller caliber weapon is used? Is a robbery less of a crime if only your watch was taken?
    This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.

  16. #16
    Senior Member rustybrown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber View Post
    That is of course until you fatally injure someone. If you're operating a vehicle under the influence it should make no difference whether its a bike, a boat or a car.

    There can be no zero tolerance when exceptions are made. Is a shooting less of a shooting if a smaller caliber weapon is used? Is a robbery less of a crime if only your watch was taken?
    You're reaching. It's simply a bicycle.

    Grand theft > Petit theft

    Exceptions are made for judicial diligence. Sometimes for the better, most of the time for the worst.
    Last edited by rustybrown; 04-24-10 at 09:28 PM. Reason: Expounding

  17. #17
    babylon by bike Standalone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dobber View Post
    That is of course until you fatally injure someone. If you're operating a vehicle under the influence it should make no difference whether its a bike, a boat or a car.

    There can be no zero tolerance when exceptions are made. Is a shooting less of a shooting if a smaller caliber weapon is used? Is a robbery less of a crime if only your watch was taken?
    Relativism can of course be overdone.

    But at six foot four, and given just the right trajectory and stature/age of the "victim," I could prove fatal to someone just by *walking* while extremely intoxicated.
    The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets. Christopher Morley

  18. #18
    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rustybrown View Post
    You're reaching. It's simply a bicycle.

    Grand theft > Petit theft

    If somebody steals my bicycle and it's my only form of transportation, I don't think I'm gonna look to well on the police saying "well, it's simply a bicycle."


    BTW, for those interested here's the legal opinion on the case:

    http://www.leagle.com/unsecure/page....cco20100422092
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  19. #19
    Senior Member filtersweep's Avatar
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    Yeah.... there is a veritable blood bath on the roads in the wake of drunken cyclists.

    What a joke this all is--- considering how lenient the laws are toward intoxicated motorists in the US. This should just fall under public intox.

  20. #20
    Bike ≠ Car ≠ Ped. BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Well, we've advocated being treated as vehicles, and we got our laws passed saying as much.

    The "bikes are vehicles" bed is made, so we have to lay down in it.

  21. #21
    DON'T PANIC!
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    I think what would serve the needs of everyone would be to make traffic offenses penalty based on tonnage and passengers. This would make sure to punish those with the most dangerous vehicles *to others* more than those that are just more dangerous to themselves.
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  22. #22
    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brontide View Post
    I think what would serve the needs of everyone would be to make traffic offenses penalty based on tonnage and passengers. This would make sure to punish those with the most dangerous vehicles *to others* more than those that are just more dangerous to themselves.
    So, in your mind somebody riding a motorized scooter hammered is worse than somebody doing the same in a truck?
    A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
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  23. #23
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    That story reminded me of an incident in 2007 where, I was stopped by a cop for 'weaving'. He thought I was drinking.

    I was just going so slow that I started weaving to keep my balance. I really thought I was going to get a ticket.

  24. #24
    Senior Member pueblonative's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    That story reminded me of an incident in 2007 where, I was stopped by a cop for 'weaving'. He thought I was drinking.

    I was just going so slow that I started weaving to keep my balance. I really thought I was going to get a ticket.
    I know the standards for OUI/DUI are pretty low (contrary to popular belief, the police CAN arrest you for those if you are under the legal limit yet still above .00) but if he's gonna write you a ticket for drinking and you hadn't wouldn't a breathalyzer or a blood test clear that up? Or was it just the typical "rayful of sunshine" cop demeanor and attitude that got you scared?
    A judge is a law student who marks his own examination papers.
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  25. #25
    DON'T PANIC!
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    Quote Originally Posted by pueblonative View Post
    So, in your mind somebody riding a motorized scooter hammered is worse than somebody doing the same in a truck?
    Scooter = a few hundred pounds, truck = a few thousand pounds... therefore the truck would be more dangerous to others and should receive a harsher punishment. The more momentum you posses the larger your actions pose a risk to others.

    OTOH, if the scooter had a passenger then they should also receive a harsher punishment.

    It should be about the relative risk that you pose to society.
    Last edited by Brontide; 04-25-10 at 08:54 AM.
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