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Why is drinking and bicycling illegal in many states?

Road Cycling It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. -- Ernest Hemingway

Why is drinking and bicycling illegal in many states?

Old 11-30-00, 07:25 AM
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mike
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You know, I've been thinking..."Why is bicycling while intoxicated illegal in many states? I mean, hey, if you are going to be drinking and you need to transport yourself around - like to the next bar or even home eventually - isn't it WISE to bicycle (as opposed to driving a car)?

I read over and over again about drunk drivers hitting and killing innocent people. So, I decided to try it just to experiment with the burning question that gnawed at me "Why, why, why, do we have so many stupid laws about bicycling?h

It started out as a controlled test with my friend being the non-drinking control group and myself being the guinea-pig test group. Sadly, as the test continued, we lost our test group because my friend started drinking too and I went from being a guinea pig to just being a pig.

The initial part of the test went without incident.

I drank, we rode, I/We drank, and we rode. You know, there was a bunch of other stuff that happened in-between, but that doesn't have anything to do with the experiment. On an interesting note though, we discovered that ladies are amused and even charmed at the bicycling clubman, but they are rarely willing to ride on the handle bars or rear carrier.

Eventually, as we started to mix with traffic and other party-goers who were driving the automobiles that surrounded us, the answer as to "why bicycling while intoxicated is illegal" started to occur to me with the thought "Hmmm, this seems dangerous".

Sadly, the realization now strikes me that I reached this conclusion in an intoxicated state which really puts my conclusion to questions. For the sake of accuracy and science, I/We may have to do the experiment all over again with a sober and non-participating observer.

Tell me your thoughts or experiences. "Why is riding a bicycle while intoxicated illegal?" or better yet, "Should bicycling while intoxicated be illegal?" or you can just tell us about some story of bicycling while intoxicated. Please, though let us keep this bicycle related...
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Old 11-30-00, 09:35 AM
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My Best Guess

Because a swerving, erratic cyclist might cause an accident between two "real" vehicles. Or the driver of a "real" vehicle might run over the swerving, erratic cyclist, causing the motorist the hassle of filing an insurance claim. Besides, it places the blame for getting run over squarely on the cyclist, where it belongs anyway for being, well, a cyclist, right? You don't think anyone cares about danger to the cyclist, do you?
Yours with a big (non-alcohol-induced) grin,
Raymond
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Old 11-30-00, 11:58 PM
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Drinking and bicycling should be illegal

I agree with Joe on this one. I hate to be the devil's advocate here, but if we cyclists expect the same rights as cars on the road (and expect to have those rights respected) we have to abide by the same laws.

I also can't help thinking of a possible legal loophole here. Just imagine if a driver was to run down a cyclists in a fit of road rage, they would always turn around and argue that it was the cyclists fault because the cyclist was drunk.

Personally (this is the start of the rant), I am fed up to the back teeth with people who go out and drink being unable to accept plain and simple responsibility for their actions. We had a court case a couple of years ago in my part of the world where some imbecile had too much to drink, threw himself in front of the car, then sued the place he was drinking at for $277,000 because they continued to serve him alcohol.

The fact is, they don't tie you to a chair and pour alcohol down your throat. If someone wants to go out and drink, fine, but they should make their own arrangements and if they can't, that is their problem, not society's. Rant over.

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Old 12-02-00, 10:47 PM
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Think about it...

Im with Mike on this one. Id rather have the drunk drivers on a bike then in there cars... they could do so much less dammage on a bike then when there on a car, go read thoes stats in the other drunk driving thread.
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Old 12-03-00, 08:11 AM
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On a serious note

I orignially started this thread with a kind of joking style, but the replies remind me that drunk drivers are no laughing matter to anybody - especially to bicyclists. Last year we had three bicyclists killed in our community by drunk drivers.

However, I know that alchoholism and even social drinking is a problem with teeth. There are no laws or punishments that are going to stop people from getting into a car and driving drunk.

For that reason, I think bicycle transport for drunks is a whole lot better than having them drive a car. Let's put it this way; When my wife and kids pack themselves in the car and take off down the driveway, I am a lot more concerned about them being hit and injured by a drunk motor vehicle driver than a drunk bicyclist.

As for society's responsibility to protect drunks who get on bikes; hey, they are on their own. On the contrary, we need to protect sober and skillful automobile drivers from litigation in case they are in an accident due to the actions of a drunk bicyclist.

[Edited by mike on 12-03-2000 at 07:40 PM]
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Old 12-03-00, 10:16 AM
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Not only is cycling while intoxicated dangerous, it is very very hard to do. Or, so has been my experience.

In my new town here in the US, I see homeless men riding streets and trails, bikes piled high with bags of soft drink cans and other rubbish, moving glacially slowly, weaving erratically, reeking of liquor... I can get a contact high from crossing one's wake.

I have no idea how they do it...

Way back in the 1970s a girlfriend and I took our bikes hors piste... that is, we rode our ten speeds on rutted, dirt farm roads one beautiful afternoon. This was in France, so naturally there was a pique-nique lunch involved... and plenty of wine.

I can still remember how the moderate effort of the ride into the countryside became a SUPREME triumph of will on the way back out. We were both really smashed, it was
getting dark, and the warm printemps apres midi was giving way to a chilly evening... I remember suggesting that we just build a house out there and stay. It had to be easier...

We did survive, she married someone else, and I continue to enjoy a good Bordeaux... after I've finished cycling for the day.
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Old 12-03-00, 06:49 PM
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Well written post, Cambronne; and how true.

I think the biggest thing that keeps drunks from riding bikes is that it is very difficult to ride bikes while intoxicated.

Actually, I only drank and bicycled once. My 85 year old bike friend and fellow bike-mechanic talked me into drinking his home-made cherry bounce after our work was done.

Now, as a more experienced and knowledgeable adult, I would never drink and drive a car, but I thought "hey, I am biking home, so what the heck". Oops, that was a mistake. It was the most dangerous and miserable bike ride I ever experienced.

Perhaps we could curb drunken driving if, as a punishment, the cops forced drunk drivers to immediately, in their drunken state, ride a bicycle four blocks. The cops could pick them up at the end of it puking and pink with road rash and drop them off at home.
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Old 12-05-00, 01:54 PM
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a bicycle is a vehicle......

A bicycle is a vehicle and should be considered as such. Same rules and laws of traffic apply. If, as a cyclist, you consider a bicycle as something less than a vehicle, then you support keeping bikes off the roads. It's as simple as that.

If you want to drink and get drunk, then call a cab or have a designated driver in attendance. Want to bike drunk? Then get a designated pedaler and find one of those pedalCABs and ride as the passenger.

I got no problem with someone who wants to ride drunk, as long as they stay on their own perperty, and don't try to hold someone else accountable for their actions.

Here's an idea: donate a bicycle on a trainer to the bar of your choice, then you can pedal without even leaving the bar counter. "Barkeep, my bottle's run dry, fillerererup, thankshyouveeerryyymush."

Next question: should helmets be mandatory on bar-bikes? That story and more in our next edition.
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Old 12-05-00, 07:01 PM
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why drinking is illegal

Bicycles are considered to be vehicles in most states and are supposed to have the same rights and obligations etc, as other vehicles and their drivers.
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Old 01-10-01, 11:44 AM
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I was walking across a bridge in Florida one night and in a drunken example of target fixation a guy slowly rolled into me, nearly knocking me off the bridge. I gave him a push off to get him started down the road (not off the bridge). I assume he was riding because his drivers license was revoked. Should we have bike rider's licenses? Anyway it is probably illegal to protect pedestrians from being knocked off bridges.
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Old 01-10-01, 01:18 PM
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Good point, Brian. My thought is that if that drunk had been driving an automobile instead of a bike, you wouldn't have been able to simply "push him along". He probably would have jumped the curb, hit you, and your dying body would have most certainly plunged over the side of the bridge.

Agreed that being hit by a bike can be painful and annoying - maybe even worse. However, if I had to chose between being hit by a bike or being hit by a car - the choice is easy.

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Old 01-10-01, 02:13 PM
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n.c.

Here in north carolina, well in the county of buncombe, they will give you the same dui ticket, fines + jail time as they will for an auto.!!!??
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Old 02-22-01, 07:05 AM
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In the UK we had a case of a very drunk person cycling on the pavement, falling onto a very small old woman, and killing her.
People who can cycle properly on the road can usually ride safely with a few pints inside them. The biggest problem comes from people who dont normally ride on the road, getting blind drunk, and thinking they can ride because its easy.
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Old 02-22-01, 09:52 AM
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Here in Ontario, riding drunk will lose you your drivers licence as fast as driving drunk and carries the same punishments if you injure or kill someone. Drunk riders may do less damage, but they still do damage.

Hearing so many people endorsing drunk riding disturbs me somewhat. Call a cab or walk.

True story: My wife was stopped at a red light when a drunk cyclist pulled up beside her and promptly fell over. Thankfully he didn't hurt himself but he was a bike courier and with all that cycling experience he knew it wasn't his fault so he decided that picking a fight with my wife would resolve the problem. Fortunately, he was unable to figure how to open a locked car door.

Ride sober.

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Old 02-22-01, 11:12 AM
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Drinking and Cycling

It has been a law for many years that bicycles are vehicles. Hence the reason why I have been issued citations for speeding in residential neighborhoods (no joke)! It is also a law that operating a vehicle while intoxicated is illegal. As well as public intoxication. Laws that are written that are as vague as this usually is up to the officers discretion and is later defined in a court of law. IMHO you should not be operating a bike or anything else while intoxicated on alchohol. There is not a good track record for this. I also do not see anyone killing people while riding a bike high on pot. Or driving a car and killing people high on pot. However I do not smoke pot. When anything that you introduce in your system hinders your ability to operate machinery (car, bike etc..) one should have the knowledge that you can hurt yourself and others. If ones confidence is heightened because of this substance then one should not introduce it into ones sytem.
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Old 02-25-01, 04:57 AM
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YOU HIT IT RIGHT ON THE NAILS HEAD

yO HIT IT RIGHT ON THE NAILS HEAD,COZ, IF YOU DRINK DON'T DRIVE, ITS AS SIMPLE AS THAT
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Old 02-26-01, 02:18 PM
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I dunno... I'd still rather be hit by a bike than a truck

I'm still convinced that having drunks on bikes instead of in cars is better for everybody.

This weekend in California, a 22 year-old drunk in a car travelling at freeway speeds on a pedestrian filled street plowed into a group of college students and killed four of them.

Ask those kid's parents if they would have preferred the drunk be on a bike instead of behind the wheel of a car. I bet everyone of them would be willing to buy that 22 year old drunk a lifetime of bikes if he would not drive drunk again. They would give anything if they could step back a couple of days in time and put him on a bike on that fateful night.

As it is, I bet he spends less than a year in jail and gets out to drive drunk again. Sure, he may lose his drivers license, but that just means he won't have insurance the next time he does it.

We can't stop the booze - that has been tried before in America and it failed. What we need to try to do is stop drunks from getting into three thousand pound vehicles and speeding into innocent people.

Given a choice, I would rather be hit by a drunken bicyclist than a drunken motorist any day.

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Old 02-27-01, 10:39 AM
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I would rather be hit by nothing!

I mean i would rather be not hit at all,, either by a bike or a car, still being hit will be painful, so my reaction to that would rather not be hit!
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Old 02-27-01, 12:49 PM
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You can get hit by a drunk even after his car is totalled

Yup, getting hit by nothin' isn't an option anymore.

Did you see the video of the drunk-driving bozo who hit and killed four people this past weekend in California?

After the accident, he got out of his car and started hitting witnesses with his fist!

An appropriate punishment might be to strap him to the hood of a bumper-car and let the surviving families have some bumper-car time with him. Apparently, however, he is the son of a prestigeous movie director. Mark my word, he will get minimal or no jail time, but will have to go to rehab and do community service.

Again, if the drunk had been on a bike, the only person he would have hurt would have been himself.
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Old 02-27-01, 01:28 PM
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back in the old world

back in the old world, this driver would have been lynch by the mob(i mean the pedestrian)
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Old 02-27-01, 03:08 PM
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But i don"t have a problem

I don't have problem with cyclist drinking, i mean i would drink one or two bottles of beer occasionally but not to get really dead drunk as in dead drunk, and that is after my biking is finished.
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Old 02-27-01, 09:38 PM
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Yes, cycling drunk is less dangerous than driving drunk. But I still don't think it should be legal.

Its hard enough getting enough people out on bikes to have a political voice without killing ourselves off by being stupid. Call a cab.

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Old 06-15-08, 06:11 PM
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In North Carolina you can't get a DWI on a bicycle, it is not considered a vehicle for purposes of impaired driving [20-138.1(e)].

Just because it's not illegal doesn't mean it's smart though.
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Old 06-15-08, 06:16 PM
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Originally Posted by mike View Post
You know, I've been thinking..."Why is bicycling while intoxicated illegal in many states? I mean, hey, if you are going to be drinking and you need to transport yourself around - like to the next bar or even home eventually - isn't it WISE to bicycle (as opposed to driving a car)?

I read over and over again about drunk drivers hitting and killing innocent people. So, I decided to try it just to experiment with the burning question that gnawed at me "Why, why, why, do we have so many stupid laws about bicycling?h

It started out as a controlled test with my friend being the non-drinking control group and myself being the guinea-pig test group. Sadly, as the test continued, we lost our test group because my friend started drinking too and I went from being a guinea pig to just being a pig.

The initial part of the test went without incident.

I drank, we rode, I/We drank, and we rode. You know, there was a bunch of other stuff that happened in-between, but that doesn't have anything to do with the experiment. On an interesting note though, we discovered that ladies are amused and even charmed at the bicycling clubman, but they are rarely willing to ride on the handle bars or rear carrier.

Eventually, as we started to mix with traffic and other party-goers who were driving the automobiles that surrounded us, the answer as to "why bicycling while intoxicated is illegal" started to occur to me with the thought "Hmmm, this seems dangerous".

Sadly, the realization now strikes me that I reached this conclusion in an intoxicated state which really puts my conclusion to questions. For the sake of accuracy and science, I/We may have to do the experiment all over again with a sober and non-participating observer.

Tell me your thoughts or experiences. "Why is riding a bicycle while intoxicated illegal?" or better yet, "Should bicycling while intoxicated be illegal?" or you can just tell us about some story of bicycling while intoxicated. Please, though let us keep this bicycle related...
It should ABSOLUTELY be illegal.

In most major cities--my personal experience comes from downtown Baltimore--there's a huge number of folks who have lost their licenses to DUI/DWI and now ride bikes. They're jokingly called "liquorcicles" and represent easily 90% of bike vs. car trauma admissions related to bikes.

Yes, your judgment and reaction time are impaired, and the risks are even higher than in a car, IMHO, because your likelihood of surviving a collision with a car are significantly lower when riding a bike.

Don't be an idiot--ride sober.
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Old 06-15-08, 06:20 PM
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does this question really need to be asked...

honestly, ppl who actually need to ask this question are the problem with this country...
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