When it comes to drinking and driving, bicyclists often pay the price when a driver is under the influence. However, it can be just as dangerous for cyclists to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs while taking to the public streets. For this reason, police will occasionally stop cyclists who pose a danger to themselves or others while drunk on two wheels.
Many people in California are not even aware that it is a violation to be bicycling under the influence of alcohol. Although bikes are not considered vehicles under California law, under Vehicle Code Section 21200.5, it is unlawful for someone to ride a bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
A Los Gatos man found this out the hard way, when was recently arrested for a combination of fighting, resisting arrest and riding a bicycle under the influence. Luckily for the cyclist, he did not end up in an accident that could have cost him more than an arrest record.
Cycling under the influence in California carries no jail time, but it is still a misdemeanor violation, and can sometimes come in conjunction with a public intoxication charge. However, when bike riders under the age of 21 are busted, they may have their driver's license suspended as a result.
Of course, the concerns over biking while drunk is not limited to Californians. Across the country police have been dealing with dangerous incidents involving a biker who has had too much to drink. After Herman Ray Mielke was told to leave restaurant patio because he was causing a disturbance, police caught up with the the man riding his bike, until he quickly crashed.
Police reported he was riding while holding an open bottle of beer. The police stopped him after he crashed again, this time into a telephone pole. He was later arrested for driving under the influence with the highest rate of alcohol, disorderly conduct, defiant trespass, and public drunkenness.
A Harrisburg, Pennsylvania man recently had his run-in with police after he was hit by an SUV while riding his bike. A witness reported that Jeremiah Wilson was riding unsteadily in the road when the accident occurred, when he apparently rode into oncoming traffic. Wilson was taken to the Penn State Hershey Medical Center, and released shortly after, only to be taken to the Cumberland County prison. He did not sustain any serious injuries, but now faces DUI charges, in addition to violation of probation.
Another Pennsylvania man had a similar run in with police, though he avoided crashing into a car. A 51-year-old Meadville man reportedly rode his bike into oncoming traffic in the early hours of the morning. Troopers than observed the man fall off his bike, as they turned around the check on him. He fell again, at which point troopers believed he may be intoxicated. They found he was riding around with a full styrofoam cup with a mixed alcoholic beverage, and took him into custody. He is facing DUI and vehicle code charges.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her legal career to defending people charged with DUIs and other alcohol-related violations in the East Bay. With more than 30 years of DUI experience, she understands the penalties involved, and knows how to fight to keep your arrest from ending in a conviction. Contact your local East Bay DUI defense attorney who will make sure you get the justice you deserve.