While individuals who are drinking should never operate a motor vehicle, riding a bicycle in lieu of driving a car once seemed like a safe option, now must be reconsidered. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that 37% of all fatal bike accidents involved alcohol. Colorado has not always had a DUI policy for cyclists but due to an increase of intoxicated riders, the current state law claims that you can get a DUI while riding a bicycle.
Bicycle DUI Laws
Intoxicated individuals who are utilizing bikes on public roadways can endanger themselves as well as others. For public safety, according to C.R.S. 42-4-102(112), DUI policy states that bicycles are officially included as vehicles with specific road regulations and as a result cyclists in Colorado may face similar consequences for a DUI as an inebriated driver.
Blood Alcohol Content While Biking
As with regular motor vehiclist, Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) will be taken into consideration for individuals riding bikes while intoxicated. According to Colorado law, individuals with the BAC between 0.05% and 0.08% are considered to be “impaired” while cycling. If the riders BAC is over 0.08% they are reported as “driving under the influence.”
In the event you are showing signs of inebriation, recklessness, or endangerment to others, you may be requested to undergo a standard sobriety test in which you stand on one leg and count to thirty or walk in a line and turn. A breathalyzer test may also be administered to determine the BAC or level of intoxication necessary to warrant a DUI.
Blood alcohol affects everyone differently. Depending on how many drinks and what kind of drinks, how often an individual drinks alcohol, the height and weight of the person, in addition to how much food or water was also consumed can raise or lower the percent of alcohol in the bloodstream. Individuals under 21 years of age are only permitted 0.02% alcohol to qualify for DUI charges.
Colorado Bike DUI Penalties
In the state of Colorado driving under the influence is considered a misdemeanor criminal offense. Just like a regular DUI while driving a motorized vehicle, if convicted, you could go to jail for riding a bike while intoxicated. Jail sentencing for DUI may be 5 days to 1 year with a probation period to follow.
In addition, first time DUI offenders in Colorado may face fees from $600 to $1,000. Community service is also associated with DUI penalties. Defendants may need to complete upwards of 96 hours of public service. *Unless there are extraneous circumstances otherwise; if you received a DUI while on a bike you are not subject to having your license revoked.
Luckily, public intoxication, when not operating a motor vehicle (as long as no other crimes are being committed) is not illegal in Colorado. State officials such as police and emergency responders are trained to provide assistance to individuals under the influence of drugs and alcohol. In the event you are publicly intoxicated, you may be subject to being patted down to be checked for weapons or drugs, in which you could get arrested for possession. Although you may not get arrested for being publicly drunk, you may be transported to a treatment center until you recover. If you are intoxicated while out in public with your bicycle, walking or finding alternative transportation may be in your best interest.
What To Do If You Get A Bicycle DUI in Colorado
Sharing the road is a great responsibility that involves not only your life but the lives of others. So whether you’re in a motor vehicle or on a bike, driving under the influence is illegal. If you have been charged with a DUI, seek professional legal assistance immediately.
Set up a free consultation to learn more about the services offered at the law offices of M. Colin Bresee. It is important to have a competent attorney that knows the law. Although a DUI that is issued while on a bike is not typically punished with points on your driver’s license, it must be reported and filed correctly. Criminal defense attorney, M. Colin Bresee, can assist you in navigating the potential legal repercussions associated with drinking and riding.