Should You Be Able to Get a D.U.I. while on a Bike?

by Prince Of Petworth April 26, 2010 at 11:00 am 96 Comments

From NBC Washington:

Don’t drink and drive; don’t booze and bike. The D.C. Court of Appeals ruled Friday that the city’s ban on driving under the influence also applies to bicyclists.

According to the law, drivers are prohibited from “operating a vehicle” under the influence of alcohol.

In January 2007, Baker Everton was arrested for riding his bike under the influence. According to the appeals court, police found him shouting next to his bike and barely able to stand. Officers warned him not to get on the bike, but he did it anyway. He then hit a child in a crosswalk before losing control and falling over.

Well it sounds like this guy should definitely have been arrested for something. I think arresting people like this should probably fall under public intoxication and/or disturbing the peace. I’m not sure DUI for those that ride bikes is such a good idea because I know folks who specifically ride bikes so they don’t have to drive to bars. I’d way rather have drunk people on bikes than driving cars…

  • LT

    I dunno. I’ve always known that you could get a DUI on a bike. While it’s silly, it completely makes sense. A drunkie on a bike is a huge danger. If they swerve out into traffic they could kill themselves easily. Other drivers may swerve out of the way causing more accidents. I mean, that might be worst case scenario, but it could happen easily. Especially in a city setting where the bike lanes are so crappy. In my opinion this law should absolutely apply to bikers. For those bikers who are concerned about having a couple beers and riding home, I wouldn’t fret. This is obviously only going to be enforced against people who are completely wasted who I think we would all agree don’t need to be biking on our streets.

  • Riding a bike drunk is less dangerous to the public than driving a car drunk but its definitely still dangerous, especially at night. Maybe it should be a lesser form of DUI, but I think its definitely a legitimate crime.

    Your friends who specifically ride their bikes to bars knowing they are going to ride home drunk are retarded.

    • grumpy


    • Anonymous

      if you are biking on the road you can cause a car to swerve and crash so just as serious…
      UNLESS bikers are forced to use the sidewalk where they belong

      • Man-Boy Lives

        I’ve always assumed bicycles were considered a vehicle and therefore were not supposed to be on sidewalks.

      • Charlie Jones

        bikes do not belong on sidewalks in cities. cars and bikes (those being used in their proper and legal manner) follow the same traffic laws. they move in the same direction on the same side of the street and stop and start in the same situations (traffic lights, stop signs). pedestrians move unpredictably. they stop and look at store fronts. there isn’t a legal side of the sidewalk for them to walk on. they stand on corners or in front of doors to chat and hang out. that is much more dangerous for a biker (and pedestrian) when a bike is going 15-25 mph

      • E-Rich

        Do not, under any circumstances, let someone convince you riding on the sidewalk is safe, ever. I’ve been hit by three cars biking in DC, and the only time it was my fault was when I was stupidly riding on the sidewalk.

        Riding on the sidewalk makes it exceedingly difficult for cars to see you while turning. Additionally, your momentum going off a curb is such that it isn’t really possible to stop and step back when you see a car coming like it is when stepping off a sidewalk. Teaching your kid to ride, by all means do it on the sidewalk, but don’t do it in the city and in traffic, and don’t ever let some guy in a car tell you it’s safer, because it’s not safer for him, and it’s a death-trap for a biker.

        As for the issue, there need to be penalties for cycling under the influence, but it’s unreasonable not to make a distinction between a motor vehicle that weighs thousands of pounds and can take out a dozen people in a crash, and a 20-30 pound bike. There are already distinctions in the law between a DUI in a big truck, bus, or with kids in the car, so anyone on here or on boards saying “if cyclists want to use the roads, they should adhere to the laws motorists must follow,” is showing a wealth of ignorance, already as the law already recognizes hundreds of distinct and separate traffic infractions and can be accommodated to reach a reasonable punishment for the person based on the risk they actually posed to people around them.

        • I have personally been hit walking on the sidewalk by a speeding bike. Bikes absolutely should not be on sidewalks.

    • Mitchell

      I agree 100%

      Dangerous, yes, but DUI dangerous? (aka, the car variety) I don’t think so.

      Plus, we also have public intoxication and disorderly conduct laws on the books that can be applied to drunk bikers.

      DUI laws are so strict because you have a high probability of killing someone if you get into an accident when drunk. I don’t believe there are statistics indicating the bike riding, while intoxicated, poses the same level of danger or risk.

  • Anonymous

    People on Bikes should get the same punishment as people in cars.

    People on Bikes and Bike organizations etc. they want to share the road. They want to be treated at par with the cars. So why shouldnt they be treated equally when it comes to a DUI?

    Most bikers dont even obey traffic laws, they jump red lights, they swirve in between cars, and stop signs pretty much dont exist for them.

    These people want to be treated equally when it comes to taking a chunk of the road but dont want to follow the rules of the road, and not to forget they slow down traffic behind them.. such hypocrites.

  • Short answer: Yes.

    Long answer: Yes, they should get a DUI. However, I don’t think it should be a charge that reflects negatively on your ability to drive a motor vehicle. I don’t think you should be able to lose your license, get points, etc. I do think you should face the possibility of jailtime and whatever charges may face someone who gets a DUI in a car. The problem is that you can not restrict someone from riding a bike again, as you do in a car because there is no license for riding a bike.

    FWIW, I ride my bike to get around town fairly frequently.

  • briefly

    I went face first into an oak tree in a tree box many years ago after getting drunk and hopping on my bike. I looked like the guy from Mask for a while and I think that was the last time I biked drunk…

  • eric

    you cant treat a bike the same as a car in regards to this. The reason DUI is illigal is beacause a car is a ton ton object capable of going very fast. A bike and its rider is a fraction of that. They simply arent capable of injuring people to the extent a car is. If they cause an accident, there are plenty of EXISTING laws that they can be charged with. It should be a separate charge.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      You said what I was trying to say, thanks!

    • LT

      The reason DUI is illegal is because it poses a threat to human safety because people (drunk driver, passengers, pedestrians, people in other cars, etc.) can be hurt or killed. Those risks still exist with drunk biking. While the typical drunk biker accident may not be as catastrophic as a drunk driver, the reality is that it could still end with someone being dead. That is why it is illegal, as it should be. As I said before, laws like this are typically enforced with discretion.

      The accident described in the post is exactly the kind of accident that this law is trying to prevent. Had the cops not been right there, he may have rode straight into the middle of an intersection and got himself killed. Not sure I’d have too much sympathy for the biker, but think about the inconvenience of the car driver who hit him. I mean, what if they had a date that night? They would totally have to reschedule.

    • Mal

      I rode my bike to meet up with folks at the unofficial PoP get together last year, and I was terrified I was going to get a BUI even though I only had 2 or 3 drinks. I didn’t realize it wasn’t even a law! I definitely bike if I’m going somewhere alone that is too far to walk, and I know I’ll be drinking. I don’t have enough money to take cabs on top of what I’ll spend for a few drinks.

      I agree with you, eric, that the existing laws should be enough to prove a point if you are biking under the influence. I don’t think that the same laws for driving should be applied to biking (I am a cyclist hater when I am in my car, so I’m not trying to make excuses as a cyclist). Sure, the general rules of the road apply, but stop signs, proceeding at red lights once it is safe, etc. are definitely treated differently as a biker. If you’re the biker, you gain quite a bit of time by doing so, and if you’re the driver stuck behind the biker, you’re going to lose all of what, 30 seconds max? I’ve had to cool down my reactions to bikers since driving here. Yes, there are a-hole cyclists, but same goes for drivers.

      Everyone has their own opinion on this, I’m just throwing in my two cents. I know not everyone will agree! Anon @11:13 definitely won’t!

  • actually

    I ride intoxicated fairly frequently, and have been doing so for well over a decade. I might be a danger to myself, but I am never a danger to others, neither pedestrian nor vehicle. Only trees and curbs need be wary. That said, I’ve seen some crazy shit by other drunkies on bikes.

    My take? DUI doesn’t make sense here because the DUI implies you can be charged simply for driving drunk, and rightly so, because you’re a loaded gun. A drunk on a bike is not in all likelihood going to cause problems.

    A better solution is to charge dangerous bikers – drunk or not – with reckless driving. This could apply to riding the wrong way down a one-way street. No traffic, no problem. Weave in and out of oncoming vehicles, you’re an offender.

    Putting bikes in the category of cars here could be dangerous to pedestrians and drivers because it can encourage drinkers to drive instead of ride, since there’s no legal difference.

    • You’re telling me that someone drunk on a bike can’t cause a serious accident? I find that hard to believe.

      • actually

        That is absolutely NOT what I am saying. Of course bikes can cause a serious accident. I am saying bikers should be judged according to how stupid they are riding, not how much alcohol is in them. If I’ve had a few beers and I’m slowly ambling home, stopping for red lights (which I do when I’ve had a few beers), I shouldn’t be subject to a BUI simply for having a few beers. If I’m swerving in traffic I should be pulled over and given a citation for reckless driving.

        • Someone could make the same argument for someone riding an automobile. It’s better to stop someone that is clearly a danger than to wait for them to do something wrong.

          • actually

            No, because while a bike Could be a danger, it is very unlikely. The law is all about tradeoffs, and the very minor collected danger of drunk cyclists does not make for a compelling reason to charge cyclists. Basically cars should be presumed dangerous, because they are, and bikes should be presumed safe, because they are. Discouraging cycling will make the world a more dangerous place.

    • Anonymous

      You know unless he err hits a freakin child like this one did. I think people stopped reading after they saw Bike DUI. Sure, had be not hit the kid, it would have normal public intox.


    ITS AMAZING. Bikers want to have all the same priveledges of the road, demand cars make room, bike lanes to be formed etc.

    When it comes to actually OBEYING the rules of the road like stop signs, red lights – bikers BLOW RIGHT THROUGH THEM – or paying the consequences for infractions on vehicular law all of a sudden bikes are “special” and can’t be treated like cars.

    Point is, GROW UP – if you want to be considered a road-worthy vehicle, you want to play with the big boys? The you have to play by the big boy rules and obey vehicle laws.

    Otherwise, STAY ON THE SIDEWALK!

    • Anonymous


    • Charlie Jones

      hmmm….let’s stereotype against an entire population of people here. because there are some bikers who don’t follow laws, that means that all bikers don’t right?

      • Mal



        I’m assuming then you would be FOR creating a driver’s license for bikers to get to be allowed to ride on the road?

        • Mal

          YES I would definitely be FOR a “bicycle license”. If you’re not doing anything wrong/illegal on the road while riding your bike, then you shouldn’t be afraid of being identified by a license plate or similar. I say this as someone who gets around downtown by bike at least once a week.

    • x

      i’m going to use your writing style for this response:

      IT’S AMAZING. walkers use the SIDEWALK and cars have to SHARE THE ROAD, demanding that all others get out of their way so they can drive their 2 TON behemoths with saudi arabian oil 4 MILES across heavily trafficed streets.

      bikers are somewhere IN BETWEEN, finding that when no traffic is coming in both directions they can SAFELY CROSS. sometimes this means the lazier drivers have to DRIVE SLIGHTLY SLOWER FOR UP TO A BLOCK afterwards, effectively RUINING THEIR DAY. can you BELIEVE IT!? that would be slightly inconvenient than a car or taxi NOT USING A TURN SIGNAL or BLOCKING A CROSSWALK for walkers and bikers.

      point is, GROW UP. if you want to share the road in a MAJOR CITY, you should learn to wait for the convenience of your transportation CHOICE. oh yeah and NO ONE SHOULD DRIVE OR BIKE DRUNK because you put others at harm.



        I actually agree with what you said. But as a driver, I can get a ticket for not using a turn signal or blocking a crosswalk.

        I have NEVER seen a biker pulled over and ticketed for blowing a red light.

        Anyway, the point here is that if bikers want to share the road, you better obey all the rules and suffer the same consequences for breaking those rules and not whine when a DUI for a biker is the same.

        • x

          I’m a driver (reverse commuter to be exact) but never go any closer to center city than i have to because I know it’s faster and better for my sanity to bike.

          Also, I’ll personally make the argument that it’s totally cool to go through a red light in a less-populated are (11th St. NW?) but I actually stop to check both ways before I do… I’m curious as to why do you think that should be illegal? It seems more like jealousy at bikers having the ability to pull up far enough to evaluate the safety of an instersection (like a walker) and go unlike a car…

    • Anonymous

      +1 to the name.

      From a criminal law perspective, it does not make a whole lot of sense to have the same consequences for BUI as DUI. The potential harm is not the same, the ability to avoid serious accidents is greater on bike than in a car, and you probably should not lose your ability to drive a car, or lose your personal and professional reputation for biking after a few too many precisely becasue of this lesser harm.


      …Bikers deserve what the get here. For every one of you whiny, preachy, holier-than-thou bikers who excoriate drives for ruining the enviroment, or making D.C. a less-than-livable city, and demand equal rights on the road…this decsion is for you.

      • E-Rich

        What a stupid mentality. I know the drivers who have hit me, for instance, make this city a shitty place to live and commute. But contrary to what “Bikers_Suck” imagines, I am like most cyclists in this town who follow the law and am just trying to make it home without getting hit.

        Do you really sit around waiting and hoping a cyclist will get a ticket or get arrested to stick it to me? That’s pretty sad. I guess the next time I see a car getting pulled over, I’ll just have to stop and hope to myself it’s you or “Bikers_Suck” or Tony Kornheiser.

        • LT

          If by you are “like most cyclists who follow the law” you mean you routinely run red lights, then I have no sympathy at all. This ridiculous argument that bikers can run red lights has got to stop. You all do it. I get it and I don’t have a problem with it either. But you all need to recognize that it is not legal and that, just like a pedestrian who uses the crosswalk when the hand is red, you could get a ticket for doing so. Probably it’s not going to happen, I admit, but don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because a law isn’t actively enforced that it isn’t a law.

          • E-Rich

            I do not run red lights. Leave me out of your imagined statistics and your “you all do it” generalizations (read: lies).

    • E-Rich

      Yeah! I couldn’t agree more. Same for drivers! Especially the guy I saw stop short of the crosswalk today because he was in a hurry at 17th and M. ALL DRIVERS should have their licenses stripped for not being as perfect a driver as “BIKERS_SUCK.”

      IT’S AMAZING. Drivers want to have all the same priveledges of the road, demand bikes make room (and Kornheiser them when they don’t), driving lanes to be formed etc.

      When it comes to actually OBEYING the rules of the road like stop signs, red lights – DRIVERS BLOW RIGHT THROUGH THEM – or paying the consequences for infractions on vehicular law all of a sudden cars are “special” and can’t be treated like bikes.

      Point is, GROW UP – if you want to be considered a road-worthy vehicle, you want to play with the big boys? The you have to play by the big boy rules and obey vehicle laws.

      Otherwise, STAY IN YOUR DRIVEWAY!


        The thread is about bikers whining that the punishments should be unequal.

        You want equal treatment on the raod, the you get equal punishment.

        If bikers didn’t whine about this the conversation wouldn’t exist.

        • No, the thread is about the court decision and whether you agree with it. People like you tried to turn it into bikers whining about punishment.

    • Anonymous

      The majority of bikers I see on a daily basis absolutely do not stop at red lights nor stop signs, and most of them do not even slow down. I understand that bikers have rights to and I respect that, but if you want the privilege of riding on the road with cars, you should and must follow the same rules. I have had numerous occasions where I’ve been stopped at a red light and when the light turns green and I start to drive forward, I have to slam on my brakes or swerve to avoid hitting somebody on a bike blowing through the intersection well after their light has turned red. I also have had numerous occasions with bikers weaving recklessly through traffic and almost causing accidents. I’m not saying drivers are any better, but I’m tired of hearing bikers complain about not being treated fairly when they clearly don’t seem to think that certain rules of the road apply to them.

  • matt

    No. It’s a bike. No matter how drunk the operator, the only life the bike-rider is endangering is their own. It maybe merits a small fine or something, but for them to face the same, huge penalties faced by those who drunkenly operate motorized vehicles seems unfair and cruel.


      No, if you ride on the road and cross the line or blow lights you can cause a traffic accident that involves cars and pedestrians. You are a threat and a deadly hazard just like a car. Unless you are on a sidewalk.

      • On the contrary, bikers on sidewalks are more dangerous. They can still pull into intersections and cause accidents, the difference is that cars are far less likely to see them.

    • He hit a child

      He hit a child… If you just hurt yourself I don’t care, but when you endanger someone else as this guy clearly did.

      “Officers warned him not to get on the bike, but he did it anyway. He then hit a child in a crosswalk before losing control and falling over.”

    • Betternot

      The idea that bikes can’t be dangerous is bull. A bike accident can hurt like a mo-fo when they come at you going the wrong way down a one way street, knock you over in the crosswalk and make you hit your head on the curb and you wake up in the ER. I hate Dominos Pizza.
      And don’t get me started about fat slow cyclists in the road on Rock Creek/Piney Branch Parkway when there is a bike path RIGHT THERE.

  • bike commuter

    I’m a regular biker (and one who follows the rules pretty assiduously). I bike to work, and I sometimes go to happy hours after work, from which I will generally bike home. I’m generally fairly cautious about my limits, just as one would be when driving, and I’ve definitely chosen to leave my bike at the office and take the bus as a result of one too many drinks. However, I must admit that I hold myself to a less strict “threshold” when biking relative to driving (for which I am quite strict), in part because know that I am not much of a danger to others, and in part because I know that I am very unlikely to be caught.

    I agree that biking drunk should be a punishable offense, but I believe that it should be its own offense. The punishment should certainly be something greater than public intoxication or reckless driving, and in fact I think that fines of a similar size to DUI charges may be warranted. However, biking while intoxicated should not carry the possibility of losing one’s driver’s license, nor should one get points on his license (if he has one) for the charge. Biking drunk certainly poses a small danger to the public, but the danger is still far less than driving drunk.

    Finally, there should be no distinction between biking drunkenly on a sidewalk and biking in the street. It’s not clear to me whether the new ruling makes this distinction, but I feel that the public safety ramifications of each method are basically the same.


      YOU ARE RIGHT. In fact, there should be a license for riding a bike on the road!

      Drivers have to display competency and an understanding of the rules in order to drive on the road, so Bikers should do the same to get the privelege to ride on one. And risk loosing it (in addition to fines) for infractions.

  • matt

    The words i had to type to authenticate my last post were literally “Mr gropper.” WTF?


    There should be a license for riding a bike on the road!

    Drivers have to display competency and an understanding of the rules in order to drive on the road, so Bikers should do the same to get the privelege to ride on one. And risk loosing it (in addition to fines) for infractions.

  • Christopher

    The worst bike riders on the sidewalks are the bike messengers. I see them nearly plow into pedestrians downtown almost every day, where you’re specifically prohibited from riding a bike on the sidewalk.

  • anon

    Bikers_Suck- Aren’t you afraid your boss will notice you sitting angrily at the computer while you flame away on this thread all day? Let me just share with you some common sense. (I see it lacking in some of your posts).
    Bikes need the same rights as cars because we have to bike in the street WITH cars. Get it? Not because we are equal to cars or want to be. In fact we are not. Not in numbers. not in mass. not in the number of drunk driving fatalities and accidents caused each year. Not in the risk we pose when biking drunk. So to equate us on this level is just plain stupid. There are already laws on hand to deal with drunk biking. But if the city wants to make a new law for cycling while under the influence that carries FAR less consequences given that it is a FAR less serious crime. So be it.

  • assault instead

    Maybe he should have been charged with assault for hitting someone rather than just a DUI. This is a pretty extreme case to start worrying about getting arrested for biking after a beer or two.

    I’m sorry, someone who is falling down drunk doesn’t have many rights left.

  • Anonymous

    How is it Jelousy? As bikers, why shouldnt you obey the rule by waiting at a traffic signal or to stop at a stop sign?

    As far as the damage is concerned for a BUI or a DUI. These fines and punishments exist to discourage such behavior. DUIs are given to drivers to prevent them from driving drunk in future, not because they caused 5000$ worth of damage or killed/injured anyone. It is a preventive measure.

    Same is for the BUI. You dont know how much of a damage you can cause. Maybe you are biking drunk and come in front of a school bus carrying little white kids of urban bike riding hipsters from Columbia Heights. The Bus driver trying to save you drives the bus into an electric pole and the kids get elctrocuted, there is a fire, 10 kids die, 20 injured, Columbia Heights and Mt. Pleasant is out of power for three days. Repairs cost PEPCO $100,000. EMT Bill is about $30,000.

    This can happen with a car or a bike. And such things are more likely to happen with a bike because unlike cars, that disobey traffic laws maybe 10% of the times. Bikers disobey traffic laws 99% of the time.

    • TaylorStreetMan

      wow. you’ve really thought this one out, huh? ;-)

    • bike commuter

      Stop acting like statistical probabilities don’t exist. It’s not endearing.

    • chickadee

      haha! this comment has everything! bike hatred, psychic premonitions, hipster hatred, delusions of grandeur and made up statistics! and they say imagination dies with age…

  • TaylorStreetMan

    When I lived in Charleston, SC, you could get a BUI. Charleston being a college town, there were tons of kids going to the bars, ripping it up, then biking home. (As I’ve done on many occasions).

    Bikes belong on the street, not the sidewalk, and should enjoy the same benefits – and follow the same rules for operating a vehicle – as drivers of cars. I guess that makes me a hypocrite, since I always go through stop signs and red lights while biking (after checking both ways, of course).
    I’m divided on whether it should count as points against your license. The law applies to operating a vehicle, so if you break the law while operating a vehicle, I suppose one could argue it doesn’t matter what that vehicle is.

    Wasn’t there a case of a guy driving his tractor drunk down the interstate a while back? Not sure where that was….

  • Anonymous

    Why is it that all conversations surrounding bikes get such an emotional reaction? these responses are startlingly similar in tone to an exchange over health care reform, glenn beck or sarah palin. amazing.

    • TaylorStreetMan

      yes, indeed! I never got more vitriol on here than the time I complained about very dangerous, careless, and honestly, stupid biking behavior on Rock Creek Parkway.

      Seems like some topics just can’t be discussed civilly.

  • mphs

    Until DC starts enforcing moving violations, I much prefer drunk bicyclists to sober taxi drivers, distracted suburbanites, and reckless commuters.

    Those are the real hazards on the roads, not some scrawny hipster on a single-speed schwinn.

    • TaylorStreetMan

      So, only suburbanites drive distractedly? And only commuters are reckless?

      It sometimes cracks me up, sometimes makes me mad, that whether were talking about crime, or jobs, or rules of the road, the remarks always seem to boil down to: “go back to the suburbs if don’t like it around here!”

      not all of us came from the suburbs or want to live there. I live in the city (and always have) for a reason. And my complaining about the foibles of city life don’t give you the right to tell me to “love it or leave it”.

      • mphs

        Actually, the bill of rights give me the right to tell you to love it or leave it. But, that’s not really what I meant, and I don’t really care whether you hate it or stay.

        I’m just suggesting that one way to make traffic safer for all of us would be for MPD to actually enforce basic moving violations by vehicle drivers, whether they be DC residents or visitors.

        • TaylorStreetMan

          But you made it a point to mock suburbanites, scrawny hipsters, and commuters. So crazy me for thinking you had an issue with suburbanites, scrawny hipsters, and commuters.

          And yes, you have the right to say whatever you want, no matter how annoying and trivial.

  • Sully

    In the Outer Banks I got charged with a BUI not DUI a few years back and they confiscated my bike and made me call a taxi. I had to pay 25 dollar ticket and 50 dollar storage. And this is Nags Head law enforcement. Probably the biggest sticklers for DUI’s on the planet. DC should follow suit.

    • Jim

      A number of years ago, I came upon a terrible bike/cars accident in which a drunk cyclist ran head-on into Toyota pick truck, went through the windshield, struck and seriously injured the driver of the truck. The truck then veered head-on into oncoming traffic and took out two more cars before stopping. Four people injured, two (the cyclist and the truck driver) critically. Miraculously, the biker survived, but lost his right arm just above the elbow and had multiple internal injuries that kept him hospitalized for months.

      Drunk biking can easily create the same danger to both the biker and everyone, pedestrian or vehicular, between drunk biker and his/her ultimate destination, as a drunk in a car. Penalties should be the same.

      It’s disturbing to read the idiotic “I ride a bike drunk because cabs are expensive” posts on here. This boils down to “I don’t care about anyone else. I just want to be able to get wasted and get home, while spending as little money as possible.” Please grow up and accept personal responsibility. Just because it might impact your social life and/or your finances does not give you the right to endanger others. If you can’t afford a cab, drink less and use the savings on a cab, or drink at home.

      • TaylorStreetMan

        +1, big time!

      • Mal

        Okay well since my previous post was the only one I saw about affording cabs and drinks… Please read my post again; maybe I wasn’t clear. I only have 2 or 3 drinks over the course of being out for 2 or 3 hours. Plenty of time for alcohol to run through my system and I am fine to bike (hell I’d be fine to drive). I will NOT get wasted and bike home. I never hinted to that. Then I would suck it up and take a cab, even if it cost me my last $10.

        I am definitely against biking while intoxicated or driving while intoxicated. I honestly don’t think people should be totally wasted in public settings; I think it should be reserved for when you’re in the privacy of your own home. To each their own, though.

        To put things in perspective though, couldn’t pedestrians also cause major accidents? Since apparently we’re working off of hypotheticals, couldn’t they could easily walk into a cross walk as a car is coming, the car could swerve into oncoming traffic and cause major fatalities or injuries? Should the pedestrian be charged with a DUI? I understand they aren’t operating a vehicle, but the outcome would be the same. That is the main reason I think it should be a separate category.

        • Mal

          oh wait I forgot to add… “…should be a separate category” BUT penalties should be similar. Not necessarily affecting your driver’s license record, because I think there should be bicycle licenses, but same ticket and fee amounts.

          • TaylorStreetMan

            I’d guess that would fall under public drunkenness and/or manslaughter in the case of causing a death. Dunno.

          • Mal

            I guess cops are going to deal with you how they see fit (not you personally, you meaning whoever they pull over) when the time comes. I think what we *ALL* need to do is let the road rage subside, not BUI, DUI, or WUI (walk under the influence as in stumbling all over the place and not being able to tell if the crosswalk is there or not), and just be responsible human beings and look out for one another!!

            I have a feeling this is gonna come up at the PoP happy hour… Anyone wanna share a cab from the 12th & Mass Ave NW area so we don’t get yelled at for BUIing?

      • Caroline

        It’s just not safe to take a cab home at night or when you’re drunk. I had a cab driver drive to an abandoned parking lot and try to sexually assault me. I’ve also heard plenty of stories about cab drivers intentionally charging people 4x the fare, or driving around in circles to jack up the fare, if they think they person is drunk. If the customer complains or questions the fare, the cab driver calls the police who promptly arrest the person for public intoxication. Since they don’t do a Breathilizer in this situation, you could be totally sober and still get arrested. So please, don’t get into a cab alone at night, especially if you’re a girl.

  • Anonymous

    Its not just a city problem.. Bikers are terrifying the cars even in McLean. I drive into DC from McLean taking Chain Bridge Road which is a single lane road.

    So many times, the traffic is back logged from Chain Bridge Road till the GW Parkway Just because some A-Hole Biker is taking up the whole or partial lane.

    I am not saying its all the fault of the biker, it is also the fault of the driver behind the biker for not trying to overtake the biker or honking at the biker to get to a side.

    Bikes are supposed to be eco friendly. But when they create a backlog 2 miles long, it is burning more gas than one person not taking the car and riding a bike.

  • satan

    People should be encouraged to bike instead of drive when intoxicated, not discouraged by equating the two in terms of penalties. Jesus.


      sounds like you are robbing peter to pay paul. Fact is drunk bikers are as dangerous as drunk drivers.

      Take a cab or walk.

      It’s like saying people should be encouraged to kill with knives instead of guns.

      • anon

        “Fact is drunk bikers are as dangerous as drunk drivers.”


        Are you stupid enough to believe your own comments or just THAT into your flame war that you spouting nonsense at this point?

        “fact” lol. He wrote “fact is” and then followed it with “drunk bikers are as dangerous as drunk drivers”

      • Shawn

        “Fact is drunk bikers are as dangerous as drunk drivers.”

        If your ridiculous name didn’t already accomplish it, this sentence will mean you have no credibility for the rest of this argument.

        They are not as dangerous so the punishment should not be as severe. Very simple.

  • Anonymous

    Bicycles are a real danger and threat to pedestrians!

    Last fall in Philly, two pedestrians were struck by bicyclists and killed in separate incidents spanning just one week. Of course, one fled the scene and the other wasn’t even charged. At least Philly has laws banning them from all sidewalks and started (somewhat) cracking down on bicyclists breaking the law after these incidents.


    • E-Rich

      That constitutes an anomaly–not the clear and present danger you represent.

      The difference is in the reaction. Most folks hear of a driver striking and killing a pedestrian, and say “That driver should be taken off the road.” Car apologists hear of a cyclist striking and killing a pedestrian (or in this case striking and perhaps injuring a child) and say “Get the bikes off the streets–all of them. They’re a real danger and threat to pedestrians an drivers.”

      This thread should have been about personal responsibility but instead devolved to a flame war. That’s not hard to believe when you consider the city took a law designed with motorists and cars in mind and reapplied, and some might argue misapplied, it to cyclists. This cyclist was an asshole. He rode when he had no business doing so and was in no condition to do so. There should be a law and it should be called “biking/cycling under the influence,” but the punishment should match the crime.

  • Shawn

    Wow so much bike hating in this thread.

    How many times have you heard the phrase “killed by a drunk driver” vs. “killed by a drunk cyclist”? The reason for this is that intoxicated drivers of 2000 pound cars pose enormously higher risks to people and property than intoxicated riders of 30 pound bikes.

    The fact is that drunk drivers kill people and drunk cyclists don’t because cars are fast, massive, deadly machines. DUIs are given out to prevent drivers from harming others. Because cyclists do not have the same capacity to harm others as cars, they should not receive the same punishment.

    I think that biking while drunk should be illegal in the same way that wearing a seatbelt while driving is illegal — it is very dangerous for the person doing it and they should get a ticket for it.

    But if you think that driving a car drunk and riding a bike drunk should be treated equally, then maybe you also agree that someone running, roller blading, or skateboarding in the road while drunk should also receive a DUI?

    It is analogous to charging someone with the same crime for firing a gun at someone and for punching someone. It completely ignores the degree of potential harm caused by the action and it makes no sense.

    P.S. The safest scenario for cars, cyclist and pedestrians is to have the cars and the bikes on the road and the pedestrians on the sidewalk.

    • Shawn

      not wearing a seatbelt*

    • LT

      I don’t get how people keep making the argument that bikes are different than a car because they’re 20 lbs instead of 2000. The bikers are riding about one foot away from those 2000 lb vehicles. It’s not also risk to others, it is risk to self. We don’t have drunk driving laws to protect only other people, we have them to protect the people who may kill themselves by ramming their car into a tree. Just as we are trying to protect drunk bikers from riding out into the middle of intersections and being hit by semis.

      I agree the safest scenario for everyone is to have the cars and bikes on the road, but I think its pretty important for operators of ALL to be sober.

      • Shawn

        Yes, it is about risk to others. If you can’t see this, then I don’t know what else to say to you.

        If you’re saying it’s just about risk to self, then why is the punishment for a DUI greater than the punishment for not wearing a seat belt? Both are very dangerous to the driver, but only one is extremely dangerous to every other driver, cyclist and pedestrian on the road.

  • Shawn

    Also, cyclists do pose a risk to others, it is just much much smaller than the risk that cars pose.

  • chickadee

    using the powers of google, i thought i’d drop some actual stats:

    (info from the people who make helmets, primarily regarding W.Va) :
    “Drunk drivers cause 40% of car fatalities; drunk riders cause 29% of motorcycle fatalities; drunk bicyclists cause 24% of bicycle fatalities; and drunk pedestrians (we are not making this up) cause 33% of pedestrian fatalities. ”

    According to gov’t stats, you’re better off biking drunk than walking (unless bikers_suck is in his/her car).

    • Brad

      Close (and kudos for awesome stats!), but not quite right on the conclusion. These stats say nothing about the likelihood of a fatality, only about the relative frequency of drunk and sober fatalities for a particular activity. The bike # could be (and likely is) driven down by a relatively high rate of sober deaths, particularly compared to pedestrians.

      • I love my Escalade

        As someone here said. People are given DUI as a precationary measure so they dont get into an accidented and that the accident is prevented. Same thing should apply to bikers as well.

        If the Bikers know that they will get arrested for being drunk on the bike, they will stop doing that. Thus bringing the percentage from 24% to perhaps 0%.

        The severe punishment and the fear of losing your drivers license keeps most people from venturing out on the roads when drunk.

        Infact riding a bike is more dangerous than falling asleep in the car. Not only are you unprotected (unless your bike has ABS Breakes, side air bags, a collision control system, OnStar etc) you are also on two wheels. If not for the sake of others, do it for yourself. You can fall in front of the car and cause an accident, and probably get other people in trouble due to your recklessness

        • Shawn

          Yes drunk biking should be discouraged but it should not be punished as severely as drunk driving which can kill the car’s drivers, passengers, other drivers, and anyone else on the road or sidewalk.

          Being drunk on a bike is very dangerous to the cyclist; not terribly dangerous to other people in cars on the road.

  • Caroline

    I’ve always wondered: what safe options are there for getting home after having a drink? Driving (and now biking) is dangerous and illegal, and walking or taking the bus/metro can be dangerous at night, especially if you’re a woman. I used to think cabs were safe, until I had a couple of terrifying experiences with shady cab drivers. I just don’t have a drink out anymore, but there clearly are a lot of people who do. If you’re one of them, do you take one or more of these risky forms of transit home, or do you use designated drivers?

    • I don’t find any of them to be risky (that is, outside of driving or biking drunk). I have no problem with buses when I drink nor cabs.

      I think the first point is that you can drink and do those things without losing your sense of awareness and feel a lot safer. Otherwise the answer is to drink closer to home.

      • Caroline

        You can have a strong sense of awareness but still get attacked by someone while walking or taken advantage of by a cab driver. What I meant was that a lot of these things can be dangerous late at night (after 9 or 10 pm, when most residential areas are pretty desolate), regardless of whether you’re drunk or sober.

        • Really Caroline?

          Then why are you complaining about not being able to drink when you go out. you probably just get wasted when drunk and know that people can easily take advantage.

          • Caroline

            If I’m out late and not drinking I can just get in a car and drive home. Not sure what the point of your comment is, except to take a cheap shot. Or do you honestly think every victim of assault, rape, and other crime was wasted when it happened? You’d feel differently if something happened to you or someone you care about.

            Anyway, I’m not complaining, just inquiring about what people think the safest option is.

          • chetna

            you are obviously a guy. probably one who gets girls drunk and takes advantage of them and pretends it’s not rape!

          • Really Really?

            No, her logic is sound. When I lived in Arlington I was often coming home late from class, or I’d be out late studying at Cosi. Even though I had not an ounce of alcohol in my system, I still didn’t want to make the 10-minute walk from Wilson Blvd to my house because the streets were so dark and everyone was already tucked into their homes. If I didn’t have my car I’d try calling one of my housemates to get them to pick me up. Back then there was a guy who attacked women by trying to suffocate them with a plastic bag, and one of the attacks happened a few blocks from my house. I’m not a biker, but I guess that would be a better option than walking since you’d theoretically be able to move faster than your attacker.

            When I went out drinking on the weekends, my friends and I had a rule that we had to go back together and crash at one person’s house– we believed we’d be less vulnerable as a group. Maybe it sounds silly and overly paranoid to you, but crime happens everywhere at it’s best not to be out alone at night.

  • Brad

    I’ll consider drunk cyclists as dangerous as drunk drivers the day that my mom ends a holiday dinner by saying “be careful, sweetie, there are a lot of drunk cyclists on the road tonight.”

  • The bright light

    To sum it up..

    The DC Bikers will Bike when Drunk.

    They have no regrets or shame about that and will fight till the end to be able to Bike Drunk.

    Not only that they will not even obey the traffic laws and they will justify that with any means possible.

    No one ever gave a crap about these people and the only way they can make other’s lives difficult is by riding in front of cars creating traffic jams and then running red lights, perhaps even causing an accident or two.

    But then again, they will fing a 100 ways to justify what they did. There people are so lame that they cant even afford a Prius or take a cab. Thus riding on a bike drunk is the only option for them.

    • Shawn

      Drunk biking is bad – it’s dangerous for those who do it and mildly dangerous to others.

      Drunk driving is evil – it’s deadly for those who do it and deadly for anyone else who might get hit by a 2000 pound machine at 30, 40 mph or more.

      This argument is so simple. Drunk cycling is not a good thing, but it’s not even in the ballpark of the risks and harm caused by drunk driving.


Subscribe to our mailing list