Can You Get a DUI While Riding a Bicycle?

The antics that people get up to when drunk are often the topic of humorous social conversation. You won’t have a hard time finding ‘funny clips’ of intoxicated bike riders online.

While we may laugh at these videos, riding a bicycle while intoxicated presents many safety issues. According the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 37% of deaths related to bicycling in the country involve a rider that was intoxicated at the time of the accident.

Alcohol and drugs impair the rider’s reasoning, coordination, vision, reaction time and even physical abilities. Studies show that riders that are intoxicated are more likely to take unnecessary risks such as riding without a helmet or riding on a busy highway. Riding a bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is therefore very dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

Chicago DUI laws

Driving a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is a serious offense in Chicago. According to Chicago Statues, ‘a person shall not drive or be in actual physical control of any vehicle’ while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Having a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or more is considered driving under the influence of alcohol.

Under Chicago law, the following are defined as vehicles:

  • Boats
  • Cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Trucks
  • Mopeds
  • Golf cars
  • Snowmobiles

While other states consider bicycles as vehicles, Chicago statues do not include them in this category. Chicago law defines bicycles as being ‘moved by human power.’

DUI while riding a bicycle

There are special circumstances when you can get a DUI for riding a bicycle while drunk.

  • The bike is motorized.

If you’re riding a bike that has a motor, e.g. an electric bike, it will be considered a vehicle. You can therefore get a DUI if you are operating a motorized bike while intoxicated.

  • The bike can travel faster than 20 miles per hour.

Not only does your bicycle have to be motorized, but it should also be capable of traveling at speeds greater than 20 miles per hour. This will make you subject to the same laws that drivers of motor vehicles are subject to.

Penalties for riding a bicycle while intoxicated

If you’re riding a regular bicycle while intoxicated, you won’t receive the same penalty as drivers of vehicles. That means that you won’t get a DUI. However, riding while intoxicated can result in various other legal consequences. If you are stopped by law enforcement officers and found to be intoxicated while riding your bicycle, you can be charged with disorderly conduct. You can also be charged with various other traffic violations.

It is important to get in touch with a defense lawyer as soon as possible if you have been charged with a DUI while driving a vehicle. A DUI conviction can attract hefty fines, suspension of your license and even jail time in some situations. A DUI attorney will fight to defend your rights. They will work to defend you every step of the way.


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