Law Office of Kevin L. Beard, P.A.

Drunk biking: Yes, it's a crime

It's against the law to ride a motorcycle drunk, it's against the law to operate a boat drunk, and it's against the law to operate a car drunk. As you might imagine, it's also against the law to ride a bicycle drunk.

Many bicyclists, however, do not know that it's unlawful to ride their bicycle while intoxicated. In fact, a police officer can pull over a bicyclist at any time for a violation of the rules of the road. When it comes to intoxicated biking, the story is no different.

Under Maryland law, bikes are considered to be vehicles, just like cars and trucks. As such, bike riders are subjected to -- and must adhere to -- the same rules and regulations that automotive drivers must adhere to. The thing is, police do not seek out bicyclists in violation of the law in the same way that they seek out vehicle drivers. As such, many bicycle riders feel as if they are immune to the rules of the road -- and that could lead a bicyclist to drink while riding and not know that the action is against the law.

In many cases, drunk bikers actually have great intentions. They choose to ride their bicycles home rather than endangering other drivers on the road while operating a motor vehicle drunk. This may, in fact, be a good strategy to lessen the risks associated with drunk driving -- at least for other motorists and other people on the road; however, it could still land an inebriated cyclist in jail.

If you've been accused of drunk biking, you will have the right to defend yourself against the charges. With any luck, you might able to reduce the seriousness of your punishments in the event of conviction, or you might be able to get your charges dropped or dismissed in some cases.

Source: DWI, "DWI Traffic Offenses," accessed Nov. 10, 2017

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