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Author: Thomas Roth

Last Updated: 1/16/2022

Can You Get A DUI on a Bicycle?

What Does DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Mean? 

A driving under the influence (DUI) charge occurs when someone is driving or operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In many cases, DUI laws state that people need to have a blood alcohol concentration that's above the legal limit. Moreover, some states assert that DUIs are for people who display that they can't drive a vehicle safely because of what they're under the influence of.

DUI laws vary from state to state but each state's laws have similarities. In almost every state, someone who is arrested for a DUI charge will be given a criminal sentence. This ranges from community service to jail time. Almost every state also has financial penalties for driving under the influence. In some cases, these penalties can reach upwards of 10,000 dollars. It's also important to note that there are federal DUI laws that apply to national parks, military bases, and government property.

Moving on, DUI laws are important for many reasons. First and foremost, people can get hurt when someone operates a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Motor vehicles are heavy machines that cause significant damage when crashed. DUI accidents occur frequently and cause a staggering amount of deaths and injuries each year. Driving under the influence puts the driver at risk, the passenger at risk, and everyone else around the vehicle in danger.

Can You Ride a Bike When Drunk? 

Yes, you can ride a bicycle when drunk. It's possible to operate a bicycle when you're impaired because it doesn't require too many fine motor movements. That said, the more intoxicated someone is the more challenging it becomes to operate a bicycle. Still, you shouldn't ride a bicycle when drunk. Doing so puts yourself and others in danger, especially people in motor vehicles who have to navigate around the bicycles. Moreover, some states have penalties for riding a bike when drunk. 

Therefore, it's never worth the risk of your health or the health of another to ride a bike when drunk.

The legal requirements for riding a bike while under the influence vary by state. Some states have it written into their law that driving a bicycle while under the influence is not eligible to be charged for a DUI. For example, New York State has a provision within its DUI law that states that people who operate a muscular-powered vehicle are not eligible to be charged for a DUI.

On the other hand, states like Alabama don't have these same restrictions. In these cases, people who ride bicycles while under the influence can be charged the same way that someone driving a motor vehicle can be charged. The penalties, legal blood alcohol concentration level, and criminal sentencing are often the same in these states.

What is the Alcohol Limit for Cycling? 

The alcohol limit for cycling is typically .08% BAC. The .08% BAC limit is the same limit that applies to people driving motor vehicles. In states that have a legal limit for riding a bike while under the influence, .08% is the most common. Some states also have a zero-tolerance policy, which doesn't allow anyone under the age of 21 to ride a bicycle with any alcohol in their system. In these cases, a BAC of .02% or higher is enough for a DUI charge.

There are also some states like New York that don't have a legal limit for riding a bicycle. In these states, people can ride bicycles while under the influence without penalties or the risk of criminal charges. These states also don't have limits on the BAC that someone can have. Even someone over .08% BAC doesn't need to worry about riding a bike in states like New York.

What are the Bike Under the Influence Laws by State? 

The bike under the influence laws are similar to DUI laws for motor vehicles in the states that have them. In fact, many states just add bicycles into DUI. The DUI laws for each state are listed below:

Biking Under the Influence State Laws
State DUI Laws for Cycling?Penalty
AlabamaYesJail (1 year), $2,000 fine
AlaskaNoNone
ArizonaNoNone
ArkansasNoNone
CaliforniaNoNone
ColoradoYes$600-$1,000 fine
ConnecticutYes30 days jail, $1,000 fine
DelawareNoNone
FloridaYes6 months jail, $1,000 fine
GeorgiaYes40 hours community service, $300 fine
HawaiiYes5 days jail, $1,000 fine
IdahoYes6 months jail, $1,000 fine
IllinoisNoNone
IndianaYes6 months jail, $500 fine
IowaNoNone
KansasNoNone
KentuckyNoNone
LouisianaNoCan be permitted in court
MaineNoNone
MarylandYes2 months jail, $500 fine
MassachusettsNoNone
MichiganNoNone
MinnesotaNoNone
MississippiYes48 hours jail, $500 fine
MissouriNoNone
MontanaNoNone
NebraskaNoNone
NevadaNoNone
New HampshireYes17 days jail, $500
New JerseyNoNone
New MexicoNoNone
New YorkNoNone
North CarolinaYes30 days jail, $5,000 fine
North DakotaYes30 days jail, $500 fine
OhioYes6 months jail, $1,000 fine
OklahomaNoNone
OregonYes3 months jail, $1,000 fine
PennsylvaniaYes3 months jail, $1,000 fine
Rhode IslandYes1 year jail, $750 fine
South CarolinaNoNone
South DakotaYes1 year jail, $2,000 fine
TennesseeNoNone
TexasYesNone (charges are rare)
UtahYesHardly enforced
VermontNoNone
VirginiaNoNone
WashingtonNoNone
West VirginiaNoNone
WisconsinNoNone
WyomingYes6 months jail, $750 fine

What are the Penalties Due to Riding a Bike Drunk?

The penalties due to riding a bike drunk vary from state to state but the most common is a criminal sentence and financial fine. A criminal sentence can come in the form of community service, jail time, or even probation. Some criminal sentences will also be accompanied by a fine. These fines vary by state but financial penalties can range from $1,000 to $20,000. 

Therefore, we always recommend against riding a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol. Even in a state that permits this behavior, it puts yourself and others at risk of injury.

Author
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Thomas Roth
Lead Editor

Thomas has been working in the substance abuse industry for over 3 years and he's made it his mission to help those in need. Tom started out by writing content to help people find addiction treatment centers near their location. Once he understood the value in the words he wrote Tom shifted to outreach, editing, and content creation. If nothing else, Tom wants to see those who struggle with Alcohol abuse disorder recover.