The reason we have DUI laws is understandable. An intoxicated person can cause serious injuries and property damage when in control of a vehicle weighing over a ton. However, many people do not realize cyclists can also face arrest for DUI for riding a bike while under the influence.
Colorado's DUI laws for drunk cycling extend beyond motorcycles. Police can pull over people riding standard bikes who appear drunk, so it is best to not operate anything after you have had a few drinks.
Do other states have these laws?
While biking under the influence laws vary by state, they tend to exist around the country. In Colorado, the state's DUI laws typically applied to automobiles also apply to bicycles. Other states have separate laws. For example, in California, it is illegal to ride a bike drunk, so police can arrest someone, but the penalties for biking under the influence (BUI) are different. In the Golden State, bikers who break the law will face a fine usually exceeding $700 and points on their driving records.
Arguments against the law
Colorado's laws on BUIs have not set well with biking enthusiasts. Many people believe it is safer to ride a bike after drinking at the bar, and some people worry the enforced law will make people more likely to take a car home. While an intoxicated person behind the wheel is a danger to everyone on the road, a drunk person riding a bike is generally only a danger to himself or herself. Other individuals argue whether enforcing the law is the best use of police resources.
The best rule of thumb is to never drive anything, whether it is a bike or a car, after consuming alcohol. There are plenty of other options for getting home safely. Police seem poised to enforce biking under the influence laws more aggressively, so do not drink and bike.
If you have been arrested for riding a bike while intoxicated, there are defenses. Speak with an experienced DUI lawyer as soon as possible.