Is It Illegal to Ride a Bicycle and Drink in Colorado?

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DUI Defense Attorney Fighting for Bicyclists Accused of Drinking and Biking in Colorado Springs

You might assume that you can drink and ride a bicycle. After all, you are not operating a motor vehicle. You might even ride your bicycle to avoid a DUI arrest, and assume you are doing your part to stay safe. While these are good intentions, riding a bike while under the influence could result in a criminal charge and jail time. In fact, Colorado has strict laws against riding a bike and being under the influence, and you might be surprised to find the punishment is like that of operating a motor vehicle.

The Law Regarding Bicycling Under the Influence

You can get a DUI if you are operating a bike and your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is over the legal limit. In Colorado, the legal limit is 0.08 percent. Under Statute Section 42-4-1301, it explicitly states that anyone operating or driving a vehicle can be arrested for driving under the influence. Furthermore, Statute Section 42-4-102(112) specifically names bicycles as part of the “vehicle” definition.

Laws Against Underage Drinking and Cycling

Those under the age of 21, which is the legal drinking age in Colorado, can also be arrested for a DUI while riding a bike. All it takes is a BAC of 0.02 percent or higher to be arrested.

What Are the Chances Officers Would Arrest You for Cycling Under the Influence?

While you have the opportunity of receiving a DUI, the likelihood of such on a bike is much less than if you were driving a motor vehicle. This is because officers will not bother you if you are not endangering yourself and others, or damaging property. If you are riding your bike peacefully and give officers no reason to assume you are under the influence, they would not stop you or conduct a field sobriety test.

However, if you are belligerent or drawing unnecessary attention to yourself, then you increase the likelihood they will stop and test you. If you have a BAC over the legal limit and are operating your bike in public, then you could be arrested for a DUI.

The punishment for a DUI on a bike is the same as if you drove a car. This is because the CRS specifically names bicycles as a “vehicle,” so you would not have a decreased sentence just because your “vehicle” had two wheels instead of four.

What to do if Arrested for Biking Under the Influence

If you are arrested for cycling while under the influence, you will not have points assessed against your driver’s license. You should not receive any administrative penalties, like losing your driver’s license. However, you must still contact a criminal defense attorney to avoid the criminal penalties of a DUI while riding a bicycle.

Speak with Attorney Christian A. Schwaner, P.C. to explore your options after a cycling DUI by calling his office at 719-577-9700 or send us a request online.

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