Drinking and Biking? Think Again

Drinking and Biking? Think Again

January 18, 2020

The vast majority of DUI cases involve people who were driving automobiles and motorcycles. However, you don’t hear much about drinking and bicycling. In fact, given how frequently the message is to avoid drinking and driving, people might feel as though bicycling home from the bars or a party instead would be a smart decision.

While bicycles do not pose nearly the same safety threat as motor vehicles due to their lower speed and significantly lower size and weight, it is still not at all wise for you to ride a bike after you’ve been drinking. In fact, some states and municipalities actually outlaw it.

Here’s some information you should know about riding a bike while drunk in Cincinnati, OH.

What do the laws say?

Different states and municipalities handle the issues of bicycling while drunk in their own ways. There are those who say a drunk bicyclist cannot cause much harm to others, considering the size of a bike and the speed at which it travels. Others would say this ignores the potential for bicyclists to make poor decisions while on the road, and that their unpredictability could be dangerous for those sharing the road with them, making accidents more likely.

Even if it were true that bicyclists only pose a real harm to themselves while drunk, this also ignores the effects that injuries to a drunken cyclist can have on other people, including family.

In most cases, you can assume any drunk driving laws that apply to operating motor vehicles will be interpreted by courts as not applying to bicycles or other similar vehicles powered by people. However, if the statutes apply to “vehicles” without the term “motor” being included, then there is a much greater chance the court will apply the DUI laws in the state to cyclists as well as motorists.

It’s important, therefore, to closely analyze the DUI laws of the state in which you reside. There are some states that specifically exclude bicycles from the definition of “vehicles,” even without the term “motor” included. However, other states will treat bicycles exactly the same as any other vehicle on the road, no matter what language is used in state statutes.

Ohio state law, for example, prohibits the operation of a bicycle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. In fact, OVI penalties in Ohio frequently carry the same penalties for bicyclists as for motorists, and being convicted of an OVI while riding a bicycle could very well have an impact on your driving privileges.

Regardless of legality, though, it is simply not a good idea to ride a bike while intoxicated. Not only will your decision making be questionable at best, but your motor skills also deteriorate while under the influence. It becomes more likely you will fall off the bike and injure yourself. Your best bet is to call a cab or rideshare, or use public transportation if you don’t have a ride.

For more information about OVI penalties resulting from drunk bike riding in Cincinnati, OH, contact Herzner Law, LLC today.

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