It’s easy to think of riding a bicycle as a sobriety test in and of itself, but in reality, the idea that being too drunk to bike means you can’t bike is just plain wrong. Biking under the influence is entirely possible, and the emergency room statistics are as good a proof as any that it can be injurious… even deadly. Booze-rolling, as it’s sometimes called, can lead to self-injury and bodily harm done to others, but the question is, can it lead to an OUI?
The simple answer is that biking while drunk is a criminal offense in some states – particularly those states that treat bicycles as vehicles in the wording of the law. Louisiana, for instance, includes ‘other means of conveyance’ in its OUI laws. In California, a drunk cyclist can be charged with a CUI. An Oregonian charged with a BUI (pronounced buoy) can have their driver’s license suspended. And arrests for drunken cycling are a reality in Utah, but the penalties are lighter than those imposed for driving under the influence.
The fact is, biking while drunk and driving while drunk differ in penalty and punishment in all but a handful of states. In most states, Massachusetts included, operating a bicycle while intoxicated will not lead to an OUI charge. In New Hampshire, though there is precedent, it’s still not clear whether the fact that the law regards bicycles as vehicles means cycling while drunk would constitute an OUI. However, biking under the influence can still lead to charges of reckless endangerment, disturbing the peace, and public drunkenness.
So what’s the best policy for those who want to bike to the bar and remain on the right side of the law? Do like the seasoned cyclists do and get a bar beater, otherwise known as a cheap bike that you can leave chained up overnight without worrying about whether it will be nicked if you’re too drunk to bike home.
OUI attorney Michael Bowser has years of experience successfully defending those accused of drunk driving and other infractions involving the alleged operation of a vehicle while impaired in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Call Attorney Michael Bowser today at 1-888-5BOWSER to discuss OUI laws and your individual circumstances.