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Old 12-13-02, 01:34 AM   #1
trmcgeehan
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Can you get a DUI riding a bike?!

**Mod Edit- noob has resurrected this thread after it's been dormant for more than a decade.

Last month, I had a bad experience with a DUI road trap. I went to a party, and had a little too much "alkyhol." As I was about to leave the party, I heard several people say: "When you get to the end of the driveway, go right and drive over the mountain to get home. There's a DUI road block to the left." I didn't think anything of it, because I thought I was okay. So, like a dummy, I turned left and drove right into the trap a mile down the road. Bad move. The state trooper put his head in my window and asked if I had been drinking. Not to lie (he could smell the beer on my breath), I said yes. He told me to pull over and get out of the car. I went through the eye movement test, foot in front of foot straight line, etc., and did rather badly. They put my in a police car and took me to jail, while my poor wife had to call someone to come get her and the car (she had been drinking too, but only had a couple).
At the jail, the arresting officer sat with me in a big room, and filled out paperwork, for what seemed like 45 minutes. Then he gave me the breath test. While sitting there, I thought: "Hey, this cop is a good guy. He's giving me some time to sober up before he gives me the test!" Wrong! I learned later that your blood alcohol level continues to climb for at least 1.5 hours after the last drink! He was trying to get my alcohol level UP! By the grace of God, I came in at .072, which is under Kentucky's maximum of .080. But they still, for a reason I don't know, charged me with reckless driving or open container in the car (I had a choice). I wasn't driving recklessly, and didn't have an open container in the car. They were going to hold me for a minimum of 4 hours before I had to post bond. But luckily for me, a local judge had also gone to the party, and was following me when I got pulled over. He called the jail and sprung me right away, without posting a bond.
So I had to get a lawyer, who got the case dismissed. It only cost me $500 for the lawyer, plus $100 court costs. I had a great time at the party, but certainly not $600 worth!
The irony of it is, I was all set to ride my bike to the party, which was about 6 miles from my home. But then at the last minute, my wife decided to go with me, so I took my car. The question is, if I had ridden into the trap on a bike, would I have been charged just as if I was driving a car? Might have saved me $600! This whole sordid episode scared me spitless! I've learned my lesson. Don't drink and drive, bub!
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Old 12-13-02, 01:50 AM   #2
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In canada it is against the law...you would be eligible for fines, jail time,revoking of licsence and points off of permit. You are on a vehical and drunk. If you aren't a danger to others you are definately a danger to yourself. (as for provincial specifics they change but the basics I believe are the same)
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Old 12-13-02, 02:01 AM   #3
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dont carry your drivers licence with you if you drink & ride. may-be ride on the side-walk, different set of laws ???
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Old 12-13-02, 03:03 AM   #4
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Law or not, I can certainly say that I wouldn't want any part of riding under the influence of alcohol or anything else. I think that is one fast way to become an example of Darwin's theories of natural selection.
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Old 12-13-02, 03:32 AM   #5
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well, it varies from state to state. in most states since a bicycle is considered a vehicle, and the DUI laws are written for vehicles it does techically apply. then some of the laws are "operating a MOTOR vehicle". so technically, yes, often you can be charged for DUI/DWUI just like driving.

i know this was the case in Texas unless they changed it b/c in college i used to ride to parties and home while definitely above the legal limit to drive a car - i had one time where i met the pavement maybe 5 times on a 1-2 mile ride home - but i wasn't endangering anyone but myself, so i just didn't take it the same as driving a car (i've driven once over the limit when i was 17 and never since)

anyway, some of us looked up the laws and TECHNICAL in Texas you can get your driver's license suspended. of course, another technicality is that you don't NEED a driver's license to ride a bike...

but, in reality it is unlikely i think, b/c biking while drunk just does not endanger others like the DUI laws are designed to prevent, so you'd have to have a really strict judge and a crappy attourney to get the REAL DUI punishment while on a bike. i.e. the $1000 and/or license probation that most states now have.

now if you have a prior conviction, it might be treated a little more severly (i.e. as evidence that you haven't learned your lesson and would drive a motor vehicle drunk again too)

some time ago i read some commentary on the subject and some judge basically said "hey, every drunk guy on a bicycle is one less behind the wheel, and they can endanger themselves all they want as long as they don't get behind the wheeel" --- i actually think it was in England where BUI is more common -- but i think the attitude is right on.
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Old 12-13-02, 03:43 AM   #6
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A friend of mine has been driving for over 40 years. He has had only one accident. He was hit by a drunk bicyclist. If I recall correctly the bicyclist was charged with drunk driving, but it didn't mean much, since this was before a DUI received much more than a slap on the wrist.

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Old 12-13-02, 05:20 AM   #7
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About a month ago I was riding home on a busy road in the evening when I encounterted traffic backed up endlessly at what turned out to be a checkpoint.I hoped on the sidewalk rode by and enjoyed the road virtually to myself the next mile or so.The cops around here(So.Fl.) only seem to bother cyclists when they ride at night without proper lighting particularly if they are riding in the street and then only warn the cyclist to get lighting.While I highly recommend not riding drunk for your own safety(and motorists as well) if you do be sure to have proper lighting and follow other rules to avoid being stopped where they might notice you drunk and find something to charge you with.Riding on the sidewalk may be smart also as one mistake on the road could be it(plus cops pay less attention to cyclists on sidewalks) but watch intersections and cars pulling out from stripmalls etc.I defer to the previous posts on the actual legality as I don't drink.
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Old 12-13-02, 05:21 AM   #8
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I know that when I participated in the "Moonlight Ramble" (Part party, part bike ride - 2am through downtown) here in Houston, they warned us that open container and DUI laws apply.

That being said we still saw people with bottles of wine in their bottle cage. From what I saw there was not a person that was harassed by the police at the intersections. (Maybe because the police were paid to be there?)

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Old 12-13-02, 06:06 AM   #9
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here in Houston, they warned us that open container and DUI laws apply
isn't it still called DWI (Driving While Intoxicated) in Texas?

so sounds like they haven't changed it and you can still technically be brought up under full DWI/DUI charges in Texas when on a bicycle... never heard of anyone who has and the cops never looked at me on my bike - well, the UT campus police used to try and ticket me for not putting my foot down at stop signs... but nothing to do with DWI. i supposed they could use it as a "reason" to mess with you if you are some "undesireable" type with spiked or blue hair or the "wrong" skin color...
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Old 12-13-02, 08:39 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Maelstrom
In canada it is against the law...you would be eligible for fines, jail time,revoking of licsence and points off of permit. You are on a vehical and drunk. If you aren't a danger to others you are definately a danger to yourself. (as for provincial specifics they change but the basics I believe are the same)
Well, in the United States, both our President and Vice President (twice for Mr. Cheney) have been arrested for DUI, but they were driving automobiles. So don't believe those who say that if you drink and drive, you'll not amount to anything!!

Sorry, way OT, but I couldn't resist.
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Old 12-13-02, 12:53 PM   #11
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you can drink and ride in seattle.

this was in the courts about 11 years ago.

we had a discussion a few months back about it, search and you may be able to find it....
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Old 12-13-02, 01:26 PM   #12
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Please don't drink and ride and don't drink and drive.
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Old 12-13-02, 01:35 PM   #13
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Even if they do not bust you for DUI... I would think they could DEFINITELY bust you for Drunk In Public. Most states have a DIP law. Most of the time it's just a fine that you can pre-pay if you are willing to just plead no-contest. Course I'm sure there are variations per state.

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Edited to add: Which also means... you will be spending the night in the drunk tank...
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Old 12-13-02, 02:00 PM   #14
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One time last summer, I was riding my bike out in Port Hope, Ontario, I must have been thinking of a Ice cold beer, when I entered a Burger joint can remember the exact Name of the Restaurant, but as soon as I seat down I ordered one Blue, and right away gulp it and at the corner of my eye I can see two Police officer having their snack and one officer approached me and said your not having a second, do you, I said I was just so thirsty and the first that Came out of my mind was an Ice Cold Beer, and the Officer said if you having a second bottle of Beer, He will give me a ticket for D.U.I., what the heck why will I argue with the Officer, I just said no I will not have a second beer, because I will be ordering my lunch Now. being reasonable to this officer won't get you in trouble.
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Old 12-13-02, 02:08 PM   #15
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I have known of cyclists to go on a tour of Napa wine district and they report local police are on to organized bike tours of wine districts.. Yes, they did report Police like to busy cyclists for DUI..
I find it puzzling that a cyclist, who does not have to have a license to ride a bike, can be subjected to Exactly the Same laws.. What if you are a cyclists without a driver's license. Can't take license away from you are least.? Not to say I think it wise to cycle and be drunk at the same time..
In fact, I recall a clerk at a supermarket telling me her daughter was busted some traffic infraction while riding a bike.. She said the daughter had to go to 'bike school.'
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Old 12-13-02, 03:03 PM   #16
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I know of a case where a fellow got ticketed for operating a motorized wheelchair while intoxicated.
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Old 12-13-02, 03:56 PM   #17
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One scenario I can think of where you would be charged with 'BWI' would be if you swerved into traffic and caused an accident between one or more vehicles as they swerve to avoid hitting you. Laws vary, so you never know. In places where the law treats cyclists just like other vehicle traffic I suppose it's a technical possibility -- I doubt the punishment would be the same, though.
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Old 12-13-02, 05:02 PM   #18
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I know that you can refuse a breathalizer test. They can suspend your license for this but so what. More time on the bike. They may be able to still convict you if you are obviously drunk but as long as you have your wits about you it should work. I wonder what this would do to your insurance premiums, though.
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Old 12-13-02, 05:17 PM   #19
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Here's why driving under the influence is "stupid". Some months back a doctor friend decided that after many years of hard work, he deserved a special gift on his 50 birthday... He bought himself a new Porsche 911 Turbo convertible.

He drove it to work the first day... later that day, he put the top down and was looking forward to his 30 mile drive home on Ortega Hwy...(it's a great S shaped country 2lane road for a long drive). Half way home some idiot driving a pickup, that had a few to many cross the middle line and hit my friend head on.... flipping his auto...totaled it... he lived but was in a coma for weeks. Thank God, he woke up but didn't remember anyone.

Months later, he's back to work, PT, has some serious brain damage, and serious memory loss... he'll never be the same

Why is it so hard to demonstrate some common-sense????

You're lucky, it only cost $600 and some embarrassment. You're life along with your wife's could have been ruined in so many ways!
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Old 12-13-02, 06:30 PM   #20
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Something else that we agree on. Maybe you're not such a bad guy after all!
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Old 12-14-02, 09:39 AM   #21
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you can get a public intoxication charge. you can get one from just walking (swerving) down the sidewalk.

drunk drivers who kill with their cars are no different than those who kill with guns or their fists, etc. intent aside, not one person who is sober (and everyone is sober...even drunks) would say that drinking then driving is cool.

we have a terrible problem with people from other cultures who come here to america and drink and drive and don't understand its devestating effects. the police blotter is full of these ethnic people driving drunk.

but...once again.... the alcohol lobby is a strong one.

and lawyers and judges alike drink. and drive. not neccessarily together...but....

i've learned that lawyers and lawmakers like making laws that protect or harm only when it rarely or never effects them personally.
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Old 12-14-02, 10:19 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by RegularGuy
I know of a case where a fellow got ticketed for operating a motorized wheelchair while intoxicated.
Me, too. There was a whole bunch of handicapped people who were written up for DUI here because they were drunk and having wheelchair races down a steep hill at 3:00 in the morning once.
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Old 12-14-02, 05:30 PM   #23
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I remember reading of a guy who got busted DUI in the Miami area. This was maybe 20 years ago. As I recall the guy knew he was intoxicated and left his car behind and borrowed a bike. So much for trying to be at least somewhat responsible.

I don't know if the charges were actually brought forward or not as it was just a blurb in the paper and not followed up. I'd like to think the charge was changed to something like public intox. or even drunk and disorderly. Neither have the (very justifiable) longterm financial repercussions and this guy did choose not to get behind the wheel

When younger I did any # of really dumb things, most of them involving or b/c of alcohol. I'm older and perhaps wiser and I'm very particular about staying away from cars after imbibing but I can't see that treated the same as riding a bike after a few too many.



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Old 12-15-02, 02:20 AM   #24
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Follow-up on my original DUI post: I didn't realize, before I narrowly avoided getting a DUI, how devestating the true consequences are: Revoked license for up to 90 days, jail time if it's not your first DUI, the cost of a lawyer (I paid $500), court costs (I paid $100), insanely large insurance premium increase for 3-5 years (I've heard up to 200% increase), points on your license, a monetary fine (usually $500 or more), name in the newspaper bringing shame on you and your family, mandatory driving school, and prospective employers doing a background check probably won't hire you. In some companies, it can also mean the loss of your job. There was one guy in our town who got a second DUI, and the judge sentenced him to two weeks in jail, plus a $1,000 fine. So he took his annual two weeks vacation in jail. Upon returning to his job, he was summarily fired. Six months later, he is still looking for another job, and no one will even give him an interview.
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Old 12-15-02, 03:09 AM   #25
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first of all let me say that i have absolute ZERO TOLERANCE for anyone who drinks and drives. If I see someone drinking and driving, and I have, I call the police on my cell phone, again I have done this more then once.

You drink, fine that's your business, but the moment you get behind the wheel of a car then it becomes everyones business, regardless of how much or how little you had to drink. anyone who gets busted for drinking and driving gets what they deserve. and IMO they should never be allowed to drive a car again or even own one for that matter. if you wonder why i feel this way, well i'll just say i've been affected by a drunk driver before, more then once.

now as far as your question is concerned. i don't know if you can get charge with DUI or OWI or what ever it is called in your area. i think at the very least you can be charged with is public intoxication though. the thing about drinking and riding bike is if you have a accident at least you won't kill someone else in the process, just yourself if it involves a car. but i still would not recommend it.

bottom line is if you are going to drink do not drive, period. get a designated driver. and I don't buy excuses that you can't, bullcrap, yes you can.
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