Summer is in the air, and in Colorado, a cyclist friendly state, many will be taking their two-wheeled modes of transportation to the roads. Summer time in Colorado is one of the best – downtown Denver is the perfect place for a bicycle outing. Not only can you save money on parking and gas, but you can burn a few calories too! In addition, Denver has the B-Cycle program which allows you to rent a bike and ride it around town and return it to any B-Cycle location in Denver.
Colorado laws pertaining to alcohol related driving offenses state that you can be charged with DUI or DWAI if you operate a vehicle while under the influence of or impaired by drugs or alcohol. A vehicle is defined as “a device that is capable of moving itself, or of being moved, from place to place upon wheels or endless tracks.” The statute specifically includes bicycles.
What many people forget is that when you ride your bike downtown, you don’t have to “drive” home – so the drinks are flowing. Many people may think that taking a bike is a cheap alternative when you want to go out on the town but don’t have money for a cab and no one volunteers to be the designated driver… but don’t be fooled – being intoxicated on the seat of a bicycle can be as dangerous as being intoxicated behind the wheel of a car. In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported 627 bicycle fatalities. 28% of those riders had alcohol in their system.
If you go out to the bars and have a few too many and decided to pedal yourself home, you are risking similar penalties as you would be if you made the poor decision to drive home. A rider who is convicted of biking under the influence could face up to a $1,000 and/or a year in the county jail. In addition, the court could order alcohol classes and community service which can be expensive and time consuming.
On a positive note, a conviction for biking under the influence – even if you have a B.A.C. greater than 0.08 – you will not be facing any DUI driver’s license hearing. Because a driver’s license is not required to ride a bike in Colorado, revocation of your license is not a penalty for breaking the law on your bicycle. So get out, enjoy your Colorado Summer, ride your bike – but remember – don’t drink and ride.