If you like to have a bottle of liquor as you ride your bike or ride when you are a bit high, then the question remains, is it illegal to ride a bike drunk?
Although laws vary from one country to another, many countries do not allow drunk riding. That is because alcohol intoxication can lead to accidents due to a lack of balance and coordination, poor judgment of the surroundings, and unclear vision. In most cases, drunk riders face fines and penalties.
Since alcohol significantly impacts your balance and vision, you will not correctly judge your surroundings, which may cause falls and accidents that can be fatal. You may also destroy other people’s property, among other risks.
But what can happen if you are caught riding your bike while drunk? This may lead to legal penalties and hefty fines, which vary according to your state.
This guide will analyze everything you need to know before riding your bike while drunk. It will also explain the fines you will have to pay for drunk riding, especially if you live in the USA.
Here we go!
Why Is It Illegal to Ride a Bike Drunk?
Below are the five reasons why it’s unsafe to ride your bike while drunk:
1. You May Cause Accidents
Most people think that riding a car drunk can lead you to accidents, and while that’s true, what most people don’t know is that riding a bike drunk can also lead to such accidents.
To back my argument, one piece of research by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety confirms this. It states that riding your bike when drunk may be like driving your car while intoxicated.
So, it’s evident that drunk riding may lead to an accident or even cause one. Now, imagine riding in heavy traffic roads while drunk. The high possibility is that you will likely cause a lethal accident.
What if you lose your loved ones in such an accident? Now you understand why we advocate not riding your bike while high.
Remember, bikes don’t have airbags like cars, so the results could be even more tragic as there is no way of protecting yourself.
2. Lack of Balance and Coordination
One thing you should get is that alcohol or any addictive drug affects your brain. Once the brain is affected, not only will you not think clearly, but it will also affect your ability to balance.
That means controlling the bike will be difficult as it makes the rider lose focus, and eventually, the bicycle will lose its stability.
That can also cause disturbance on the road as other drivers carefully try to move away from you or even give way, which can also generate traffic.
3. Lack of Good Judgment of Your Surrounding
A drunk rider may not pay the necessary attention on the road. So you may find yourself missing bumps, road signs, or even diversions, which can cause charges for reckless riding.
Awareness of your surroundings is vital, especially on high-traffic paths. That means you should be aware of anything that happens around you.
For example, you should be able to act quickly if a drunk driver loses his concentration on the road. That keeps you safe, and you reach your destination safely. However, you can only achieve this with a sober mind.
4. Impact On Your Vision
Blurred vision on the road can be very dangerous. That is because clear vision helps you know when to stop, make a turn or even give way and, most importantly, enables you to see approaching danger.
Riding drunk takes away all the advantages above, which puts you at risk of causing an accident or getting into one.
While this is the case, it could lead to severe fines or charges for endangering other people’s lives or destroying their properties.
5. Fines and Penalties
Fines and penalties vary from country to country. In most countries, a drunk rider may even appear in court and face jail terms.
Even worse, drunk riding could also subject you to paying heavy fines. Or worse, it could also take your right to ride in public. How sad it can be for biking enthusiasts!
Endangering other people’s lives is a serious matter, and please note that it can lead to some severe charges or even jail terms.
Before we go to the charges, you may be asking about the level of Blood Alcohol Concentration that is considered illegal.
Well, for persons under 21 years, the BAC should not be more than 0.02%. Meanwhile, that of adults should be at most 0.08%. If you surpass this, my friend, be ready to pay fines, as we will see in a few.
If you are wondering how much you pay as a fine for drunk riding. Below are the charges according to your drinking level in the US:
Unlike a felony, a misdemeanor is a small charge. That applies when you surpass the set BAC level, which is considered okay. Below are the costs.
- Class C – Jail term of 60 days and fines of up to $500
- Class A – Jail term of one year and a $5000 fine
A felony is when you smell and stagger, and people can take note of you. Also, controlling the bike becomes an issue. When this is the case, you can face hefty charges, as shown below:
- level 6: 6 – 30 months imprisonment and a $10,000 fine
- level 5: 1 – 6 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine
People Also Ask
1. But Is It Illegal to Ride a Bike Drunk in the USA?
The correct answer is that it depends on your state. For example, states like Alabama, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Mississippi, Connecticut, Idaho, North Carolina, Colorado, California, North Dakota, and Florida discourage drunk riding.
On the other hand, states like Michigan, Minnesota, Arizona, Texas, New York, Virginia, and Iowa only have laws on drunk driving and not drunk riding. However, for your safety, it’s wise to take precautions when riding under the influence of alcohol or other drugs.
2. Generally, Is It Illegal to Ride a Bike Drunk in the UK?
Yes, it is illegal and an offense to ride your bike under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the UK.
The UK Road Traffic Act 1988 states that a person who rides under the influence is incapable of adequately controlling the bicycle and hence is guilty of an offense. So keep your bike away when intoxicated.
3. Is It Prohibited to Ride a Bike Drunk in Australia?
Yes! It is prohibited to ride a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or other drugs in Australia. While it’s considered an offense, you can also lose your right to ride in public. Mark you, it could also lead to imprisonment of up to 12 months.
4. Is It Banned to Ride a Bike Drunk in Canada?
Riding a bike drunk in Canada solely depends on the state you ride in. While some states have no laws on drunk riding, others do. So, it’s a good idea to be familiar with the laws of your state.
However, if you ride a motorized bike like an e-bike while under the influence of alcohol, it is considered an offense, and this could lead to fines, jail terms, or, even worse, losing your right to ride in public.
In conclusion, is it illegal to ride a bike drunk?
Drunk riding can pose a danger to you and others on the road. Not only can it cause accidents, but it impacts your vision and good judgment, and you lack the balance and coordination needed when riding on the road.
So before starting your ride, make sure you are sober to avoid unnecessary fines and charges, which will help you enjoy your ride and get to your destination safely.