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While it may seem like a safer option, riding a bicycle while intoxicated is not necessarily legal. The laws differ per state. The key in determining your state's laws is to see how they define a "vehicle." Some states may classify bicycles as vehicles while others do not.
If your state's law includes the word "motor" with vehicle, it's a good bet that bicycles are excluded. However, that won't necessarily exempt you from receiving a ticket. Read the law very carefully and if you're still unsure, consult legal counsel.
It's important to remember that if you're operating a vehicle in a public roadway, you are putting yourself and others at risk if you are riding while intoxicated.
Receiving a DUI while operating a bicycle will not affect your driver's license because no licenses are required to ride bicycles.
The laws governing intoxication and bicycles vary from non-existent to quite specific. For example, in Washington state, a police officer cannot cite an intoxicated bicyclist but can transport him to safer place. In Oregon, the same vehicular laws apply to bicycles. Oregon is a "three strikes" state and a DUI received while biking counts towards those strikes. South Dakota offers yet another take. DUI laws do not apply to bicycles, tricycles, or animals.
The safest bet if you've been drinking to let someone else do the driving.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|