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  1. #1
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Riding Drunk in Washington State

    Not that I advocate it, or recommend it, but I did find it interesting that there are special provisions in the Washington State legal code apparently *protecting* the right to ride while intoxicated! Note especially provision #2. Of course, there's also provision #3... but observe that there can be NO FINE! Very interesting reading, the Washington State Legal Code.

    (Original available at: http://www.leg.wa.gov/RCW/index.cfm?...action=section )

    Quote Originally Posted by WashingtonStateLegalCode
    RCW 46.61.790
    Intoxicated bicyclists.

    (1) A law enforcement officer may offer to transport a bicycle rider who appears to be under the influence of alcohol or any drug and who is walking or moving along or within the right of way of a public roadway, unless the bicycle rider is to be taken into protective custody under RCW 70.96A.120. The law enforcement officer offering to transport an intoxicated bicycle rider under this section shall:

    (a) Transport the intoxicated bicycle rider to a safe place; or

    (b) Release the intoxicated bicycle rider to a competent person.

    (2) The law enforcement officer shall not provide the assistance offered if the bicycle rider refuses to accept it. No suit or action may be commenced or prosecuted against the law enforcement officer, law enforcement agency, the state of Washington, or any political subdivision of the state for any act resulting from the refusal of the bicycle rider to accept this assistance.

    (3) The law enforcement officer may impound the bicycle operated by an intoxicated bicycle rider if the officer determines that impoundment is necessary to reduce a threat to public safety, and there are no reasonable alternatives to impoundment. The bicyclist will be given a written notice of when and where the impounded bicycle may be reclaimed. The bicycle may be reclaimed by the bicycle rider when the bicycle rider no longer appears to be intoxicated, or by an individual who can establish ownership of the bicycle. The bicycle must be returned without payment of a fee. If the bicycle is not reclaimed within thirty days, it will be subject to sale or disposal consistent with agency procedures.

  2. #2
    genec genec's Avatar
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    thassss it... Im' moving.

  3. #3
    Warning:Mild Peril Treespeed's Avatar
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    I remember a bunch of us messengers celebrating this law when it went into effect, by of course riding drunk. I think the law was put in place because of the obvious disparity between the dangers of drunk driver and a drunk rider. One is homicidal and the other merely comical or at worse suicidal. Though I guess some places still hold riding while drunk to be as serious as the driving offense. I had a friend that got nailed for riding drunk in Germany and it's still on his record.
    Non semper erit aestas.

  4. #4
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    To be fair, I would say that seriously intoxicating riding can be a hazard to anyone on the road, pedestrian or motorist: a cyclist ramming a pedestrian can do real damage, and a motorist swerving to avoid an erratic cyclist can kill or be killed. I am frankly somewhat astonished by this law: I would be the first to say that the consequences should be less for cyclists than for motorists, and the intoxication levels measured differently, but seriously drunk riding is both dumb and dangerous, and probably not something anyone, cyclist or motorist would want to encourage.

    But riding with a buzz on through the night streets? Not so bad. Not bad at all.

  5. #5
    pnj
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    this came about because a drunk cyclist challange the courts. he was arrested for BUI (biking under..) and took it to court.

    I have ridden very drunk on my bike before. very very.
    I make it a rule to keep my butt on my seat when I do though. just for my own saftey. otherwise I'd do stupid stuff like I do when I'm sober and end up falling really hard. (like I do when I'm sober)
    4130

  6. #6
    pnj
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    keep in mind, when I'm riding drunk, it's not in the middle of the day....

    the last time I rode really drunk was christmas eve 2003. it was 3:00 AM.
    4130

  7. #7
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    bah, DUI is DUI if your on the road I say. If you drunk get on the sidewalk and at worst you get ticket for riding on the sidewalk and PI or disorderly.
    If you ##ck up while riding drunk and some hapless passerby finds you in thier grill dead or mangled you and their grill are absolutely not the only ones affected, most people are decent and many a decent person will have lasting problems with having been placed in a situation where they were involved in causing death or trauma even if completly not at fault. DUI is indefensible idiocy in any public safety matter.

  8. #8
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by glowingrod
    bah, DUI is DUI if your on the road I say. If you drunk get on the sidewalk and at worst you get ticket for riding on the sidewalk and PI or disorderly.
    Riding on the sidewalk is also permissible in Seattle:

    SMC 11.44.120 Riding on sidewalk or public path.

    Every person operating a bicycle upon any sidewalk or public path shall
    operate the same in a careful and prudent manner and at a rate of speed
    no greater than is reasonable and proper under the conditions existing
    at the point of operation, taking into account the amount and character
    of pedestrian traffic, grade and width of sidewalk or public path, and
    condition of surface, and shall obey all traffic-control devices. Every
    person operating a bicycle upon a sidewalk or public path shall yield
    the right-of-way to any pedestrian thereon, and shall give an audible
    signal before overtaking and passing any pedestrian.

    (source

  9. #9
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    I notice that it says these are the options, unless we are "taken into protective custody".

  10. #10
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    True, but if you reference the section on protective custody, it is specific to cases in which the person is an active hazard to himself, ie., so drunk he needs to be rushed to a hospital to have his stomach pumped, or wacked out on pcp and liable to throw himself in front of a car as an act of mindless bravado. There are no criminal penalties in the protective custody section.

  11. #11
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    The way I'm reading it is that it applies to not just alcohol? Like you could be tripping and they'd take you to a "babysitter"? That would be quite kooky.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikeforums
    Your rights end where another poster's feelings begin.

  12. #12
    I drink your MILKSHAKE Raiyn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejack
    True, but if you reference the section on protective custody, it is specific to cases in which the person is an active hazard to himself, ie., so drunk he needs to be rushed to a hospital to have his stomach pumped, or wacked out on pcp and liable to throw himself in front of a car as an act of mindless bravado. There are no criminal penalties in the protective custody section.
    It also applies if the individual through his intoxication creates a hazard to himslef by not having the needed faculties to operate a bicycle. Also bear in mind that this is also at the OFFICER'S discretion. If he feels that you pose a threat to yourself by riding drunk he CAN place you in "protective" custody. It's all up to the cop. If you're slobbering drunk hell yes you should be yanked, but a light buzz riding on a quiet street... enjoy
    Quote Originally Posted by krispistoferson
    The way I'm reading it is that it applies to not just alcohol? Like you could be tripping and they'd take you to a "babysitter"? That would be quite kooky.
    Ain't no ********************** way I'm going NEAR a bike while tripping. I'll just stay in and watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Labyrinth, Legend, Heavy Metal or Willy Wonka as usual.

  13. #13
    totally louche Bekologist's Avatar
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    I once saw a guy get a ticket for riding a horse drunk.

  14. #14
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    The OP said to note provision 2. It sounds to me like provision 2 is meant to protect the officer, not the rider. If i'm not mistaken, it says that if a drunk rider refuses help and rides off into a tree, s/he can't sue the officer/state/whatever for the accident.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bluejack
    To be fair, I would say that seriously intoxicating riding can be a hazard to anyone on the road, pedestrian or motorist: a cyclist ramming a pedestrian can do real damage, and a motorist swerving to avoid an erratic cyclist can kill or be killed.
    This reasoning--the danger of causing an accident involving others, particularly cars--is why an appellate court here in Pennsylvania held that a bicycle is a "vehicle" for DUI purposes. Even the court had to wrench the statutory language to reach its conclusion, there is some common sense to the court's logic.

  16. #16
    Know Your Turf bluejack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Raiyn
    It also applies if the individual through his intoxication creates a hazard to himslef by not having the needed faculties to operate a bicycle. Also bear in mind that this is also at the OFFICER'S discretion. If he feels that you pose a threat to yourself by riding drunk he CAN place you in "protective" custody. It's all up to the cop. If you're slobbering drunk hell yes you should be yanked, but a light buzz riding on a quiet street... enjoy
    Actually, the officer can only put you in protective custody if he believes you are in immediate danger of self-destruction and need hospital or other expert care. That protective custody is protection against yourself. If you're just a hazard to others, he's supposed to drive you home! Sweet! (But, yes, weird.)

    And in no case are the kinds of criminal charges w/ accompanying insurance nightmares going to come down on you.


    Quote Originally Posted by Yoshi
    The OP said to note provision 2. It sounds to me like provision 2 is meant to protect the officer, not the rider.
    Yes, I mainly meant to point to the first sentence: "The law enforcement officer shall not provide the assistance offered if the bicycle rider refuses to accept it." I picture it working like this.

    OFFICER: "Please put your hands out to your sides. Ok. Now touch your right forefinger to your nose. No, your forefinger. No, your nose.... Ok, buddy. You're drunk. You're coming with me."

    RIDER: "No thanks."

    OFFICER: "Blast. Foiled again."

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    I had a class at Gonzaga U taught by a Spokane Police Officer. He told me that a drunk person on anything with wheels (skateboard, roller blades, bike, etc.) or a horse could get a DUI on a public roadway in the state of Washington. If they're on the sidewalk, no DUI. I think that's good. Riding drunk is a bad idea, but it's a whole lot better than driving drunk.

  18. #18
    newfish
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    this is awesome. im printing this out and carrying it with me all the time

    a group of us regularly ride every thursday night from westlake, and im usually the one carrying a bit of fire juice on me at all times. i usually dont take more than a bit, but for those times that i do, this might be handy

    ill just hold it up drunk and demand a ride from a police officer

    "YOU OWE ME A RIDE MISTER!"

  19. #19
    No Rocket Surgeon eubi's Avatar
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    Here's the skinny in CA:

    21200.5. Notwithstanding Section 21200, it is unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug. Any person arrested for a violation of this section may request to have a chemical test made of the person's blood, breath, or urine for the purpose of determining the alcoholic or drug content of that person's blood pursuant to Section 23612, and, if so requested, the arresting officer shall have the test performed. A conviction of a violation of this section shall be punished by a fine of not more than two hundred fifty dollars ($250). Violations of this section are subject to Section 13202.5.

    21200. (a) Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.

    ...and the legal limit in CA is .08%. Unless you are driving a commercial vehicle, in which case it's .04%.
    Last edited by eubi; 01-29-05 at 09:33 PM.

  20. #20
    beer drinker
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bekologist
    I once saw a guy get a ticket for riding a horse drunk.

    what about riding a drunk horse?

  21. #21
    Super Biker Mtn Mike's Avatar
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    There's a good explination of different state laws on drunk cycling here at Velo News .

    Personally, I'm glad I live in a state with sensible laws.

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