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Dangers of Biking Under the Influence

With the weather warming up, it is likely that people will be looking for other forms of transportation to get around. One of the most common I have seen here in Southern California is bicycling. And from what people have told me, it is actually quite common to drink and cycle. Working for an injury attorney, I learn something new about California law every single day. Today I am going to go over the dangers of biking under the influence, as well as the California Vehicle Code for cycling under the influence. If you are suffering from serious injuries due to the negligent actions of another, contact an accident lawyer at Silverthorne Attorneys to discuss your case. Consultations are free!

Injury Attorney | Dangers of Biking Under the Influence

In the state of California, a bicycle is considered the same as a motor vehicle. And biking under the influence can result in a serious cycling accident and you can be charged with a crime under California bicycle laws.

It is important to understand the dangers of bicycling under the influence. You should treat your bike the same way you treat your car when alcohol is involved.

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Why Cycling Under the Influence is Dangerous

One of the main reasons that it is illegal to drive a car or ride a bicycle under the influence is because alcohol impairs your ability to think and act rationally. Furthermore, biking under the influence significantly increases your chance of being in a cycling accident; which can result in serious injuries and possibly death. Some of the effects that alcohol can have while cycling include the following:

  • Impaired vision;
  • Slow reaction times;
  • Drowsiness;
  • Inability to concentrate;
  • Overconfidence;
  • Reduced fine motor skills and balance

These are just to name a few. Riding a bike requires a certain amount of coordination and concentration. Possibly even more than driving a car. Not only do you need to focus on controlling and steering, you have to maintain balance and speed. All while still obeying the traffic signs. However, alcohol affects your ability to do all of these. After consuming alcohol, it becomes more difficult to avoid obstacles such as cars, pedestrians, street signs, road debris, etc. All of these things can lead to a painful fall or finding yourself in an accident if you swerve into traffic.

California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5

Most people know that it is illegal to drink and drive, however, people are unaware that there is a vehicle code that prohibits drinking and cycling. Under California Vehicle Code Section 21200.5, cycling under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a misdemeanor offense.

  • The punishment fro cycling under the influence is a fine of $250 with no jail time;
  • It is a misdemeanor offense which means that it will still appear as a conviction on a person’s criminal record;
    • A conviction for cycling under the influence could result in a suspended license for up to one year for people under 21.

Defenses to Riding a Bike Under the Influence

Interestingly enough, you can only be charged with cycling under the influence if you are on a highway or public road. However, you can legally ride a bicycle under the influence on private roads or in private driveways.

There also may be other reasons someone was cycling erratically; other than being intoxicated. For example, they may be trying out different tricks and jumps. If there is no reasonable cause to stop the cyclist, all subsequent evidence would be suppressed and a case will likely be dismissed.

Penalties for Cycling Under the Influence

As already stated, riding a bicycle while under the influence is a misdemeanor. It is punishable by a maximum $250 court fine. However, this offense would still be a criminal conviction that goes on someone’s criminal record and would be visible to future landlords, employers, or anyone else that conducts a criminal background check. Also, if the defendant is over 13 and under 21, they will face a yearlong driver’s license suspension or a delay in eligibility for a driver’s license.

Contact an Accident Lawyer Today

The team at Silverthorne Attorneys knows that the time after an accident is very stressful. And we believe that the only thing you should be focusing on is getting your life back together. If you are suffering from serious injuries due to the negligence of another, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your case. Consultations are free!


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