Can You Be Arrested For Biking Under The Influence In Washington State?
There are serious repercussions for driving under the influence in the state of Washington - violators can be heavily fined, restricted from driving, and even jailed. However, is drinking and riding a bike illegal, and if so, is it safe?
While some states, like California and Delaware, do have DUI laws for riding a bicycle while intoxicated, most states do not. The rationale in large is that since bicyclists are not driving a 3,500 pound car that could be deadly, it is much more difficult to hurt yourself and others while riding a non-motorized, 50-pound bike. In addition, riding a bike is a safer alternative to riding a car when drunk.
Still, riding a bike while intoxicated can be dangerous and even deadly. Federal officials have stated that 30 percent of bicycle fatalities involved a drunk biker or cyclist, and being on the road while drunk can cause others around you to have accident in their cars or trucks. In addition, those riding bikes while drunk are less likely to use bicycle safety measure such as helmets, reflectors, and proper signaling.
There are several Washington State laws that speak to drunk biking: officers can offer to give the inebriated biker a ride home, though the biker does not have to accept the favor. Police can also impound the bike in question, but can't charge an impoundment fee.
Part of the issue of having a DUI charge for bikers is simply that bikes are not registers like motor vehicles, and you don't have to have a license to ride a bike that could be restricted.