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Bicycling While Intoxicated

by Jun 22, 2011DWI / DUI, Sam Edmunds

After a long night at a summer barbecue or cabin bonfire, it’s time for you to head home. You’ve had a few drinks, and you know better than to get behind the wheel of a car.

But what about a bicycle?

Bicycle laws vary by state, and there’s often a lot of confusion regarding what you can and can’t do under the law.

Here’s the real scoop: In Minnesota, there is no law explicitly prohibiting bicycling under the influence. But before you go pedaling off into the sunset, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Bicycling under the influence may be theoretically legal, but it’s a different story if your bike has any kind of motor power: electric, gasoline, or otherwise. “Bicycles” are only protected under the law if they are completely human-powered.
  • Just because there isn’t a specific “Bicycling While Intoxicated” law doesn’t mean you can’t get arrested. You can still be cited for any number of violations, including public intoxication and even careless driving (under MN Statute 169.13) — both serious offenses.
  • Remember that the laws vary by state. For example, California expressly forbids bicycling under the influence. So do your research before heading on vacation!
  • While you may pose a less significant threat to others on a bicycle than in a car, you still pose a threat to your own safety. Use good judgment and always wear a helmet.

Stay safe and informed this summer. Contact an experienced attorney today to get real answers to all of your questions.

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