Thursday, March 25, 2010

Bicycling Under the Influence: NOT A Crime in Washington

It's time to clear the air. Everyone hears it - you're leaving a party on a bike, and someone's gotta set their drink down and be all like, "You know you can still get a DUI on a bike, right?" Then usually some sort of goofy-ass, disguising-my-gloating-as-a-passing-joke kind of grin.

But as a long-time friend to bicyclists and bicycle transportation, I take these words as a challenge. Not a slap-someone's-face-with-a-white-glove kind of challenge. More a remembering-to-look-it-up-when-you-get-home kind of challenge.

Well, BAM! Take that! And THAT!

BiUI (not to be confused with BUI, which stands for boating under the influence, and IS a crime) is not punishable by Washington State law. The crux of the matter is whether the vehicle being operated is motorized or not. If your bicycle is not motorized, you will not get arrested.

However, the law does give police the right to take an intoxicated cyclist into custody for safety reasons. If you're zig-zagging across three lanes of traffic, running down someone's grandma, or if you thought you were riding a bike and it was really your neighbors protesting German Shepherd, an officer may transport you him/herself to your destination, take you home, or release you to a sober friend.

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