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DUI for Riding a Bicycle While Intoxicated? Maybe...

We have all seen news stories that discuss out-of-the-ordinary drunk driving arrests. From the motorized bar stool to the riding lawn mower, drivers of unusual vehicles are often very surprised to find out that they can receive a DUI for piloting these while intoxicated. But, what about non-motorized vehicles such as bicycles? The answer might surprise you.

Under Colorado law, a person riding a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol might be facing a DUI charge. The law lists operation of either "motor vehicles" or "vehicles" as prohibited if under the influence.

A DUI for bicycling while impaired is hardly ever handed out. Usually, police will be more concerned with those individuals who are driving motor vehicles after drinking alcohol or using drugs. However, there are some important differences between the two.

In order to drive on Colorado roads, motorists agree to a blood-alcohol test if they are suspected of DUI. Bicyclists are not subject to that requirement. Cyclists will also probably not be facing the loss of their driver's license.

While DUIs for bicyclists are rare within Colorado, there may be other issues of concern. Many college students will ride bicycles on campus. If students are riding to bars or parties, and then riding home after having drinks, they are at risk for bring stopped by police. Even though the student will probably not be arrested for bicycling under the influence, if the student is under 21, he or she could be cited for underage drinking.

The consequences of a conviction could last for a significant amount of time after the case is resolved. It is important to understand the options that are available for each particular situation.

Source: Coloradoan.com "Bicycle DUIs rare as drunk riders pedal home from Old Town Fort Collins" July 29, 2012.

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