is drunk cycling illegal?

Bicycles qualify as vehicles under state law — a fact that raises many questions. Do cyclists and drivers share the same responsibilities on the road? Do the same rules of the road apply when driving a car? Is it acceptable for me to tailgate and pass cars too closely while cycling?

Unfortunately, the answer to that last question is no. However, the rules and responsibilities of cyclists and drivers are indeed similar. Drunk cycling, just like drunk driving, is illegal and extremely dangerous.

Cycling is becoming increasingly popular, which makes an understanding of bicycle safety more important than before. The U.S. Census Bureau recently found that since the year 2000, bicycle commuting has increased by over 60%. More bicycles are sharing space on the road with cars during busy hours of the day. As more people decide to use their bicycle for everyday transportation, the chances that someone will do so while intoxicated increase. It is crucial that operators of all vehicles — cars, bikes, trucks, and vans — understand their shared responsibility.

Injured in a Bike Accident?

Contact Us Today

Free Consultation

Can a Person Be Ticketed or Arrested For Drunk Cycling?

Yes, they can. The blood alcohol concentration limit is the same for cyclists as it is for drivers — 0.08%. If a cyclist rides drunk, they will face a charge of operating a vehicle under the influence. Depending on their driving history and any damage they may have caused, this charge could range from a misdemeanor to a felony. In any case, the decision to cycle drunk will result in significant financial and legal penalties.

Is Drunk Cycling Dangerous?

A recent article in a Wisconsin newspaper reported some concerning attitudes towards drunk cycling. For some people, riding a bicycle to and from the bar or a party is becoming a legitimate alternative to driving. According to one person interviewed in the article, drunk cycling is the safer choice: “it’s really only yourself that you’re putting into jeopardy, and even that is pretty minimal if you’re not acting like an idiot,” he says.

Many people claim to be good drivers even when they are drunk, buzzed, or high. The many deaths and injuries caused by alcohol-related accidents tell a different story.

Someone who chooses to cycle drunk may think they can only hurt themselves, but that is not the case.

A drunk cyclist could swerve into the road unexpectedly or attempt to ride through an intersection without looking. The reactions, or lack thereof, of drivers on the road could spark a chain reaction leading to an accident.

Cycle, But Cycle Sober

We don’t want to discourage anyone from commuting or getting around on their bike. We encourage everyone to ride, but we also understand how devastating alcohol-related accidents can be. Whether you race, commute, or ride for fun, your own safety and the safety of those around you should be your top priority.

If you are ever injured in an alcohol-related accident, we are here to help. Contact us and let us go to work for you. We care about cycling and cyclists, and our “No-Fee Guarantee” means that you don’t pay anything unless we win your case.

Photo via Flickr