When driving under the influence or driving while ability impaired are understandably associated with people operating a motor vehicle in Colorado, it is important to understand that the charges can be applicable in other circumstances too. This could sound unusual, but many people are arrested for violations when they did not even realize there were laws regulating certain activities. Riding a bicycle while under the influence is one of them.
Those who are riding a bicycle could find themselves under arrest for DUI/DWAI if law enforcement stops them and finds they are under the influence or their ability is impaired. With the warmer weather rapidly approaching and more people in the state deciding to shun a motor vehicle and use a bicycle, those who are charged must remember their right to a strong defense. A woman was recently arrested for riding her bicycle while she was intoxicated. This might come as a surprise to people who pigeonhole DUI/DWAI as something that can only happen if it is a motor vehicle driver, but state law classifies bicycles as vehicles. With that, riders must adhere to the law and stay sober to ride and avoid an arrest.
Those who advocate for an increased use of bicycles are against these laws, suggesting that people are a greater danger if they are driving under the influence and the widespread enforcement of DUI/DWAI while on a bicycle might spark people driving instead of riding. One incident eight years ago showed that bicycling under the influence can be dangerous when a rider who was drunk collided with a person riding a scooter. After that, there was a law enforcement crackdown. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that in 2016, 22 percent of riders who died in an accident had a blood-alcohol concentration that surpassed .08 percent – the amount to be considered legally drunk when driving.
Since the law against riding a bicycle while under the influence or with ability impaired is on the books in Colorado, people who find themselves in the situation of having been arrested for it should not take it lightly. Calling a law firm with experience in all areas of criminal defense and DUI/DWAI is critical to formulating a defense against the charges and avoiding the consequences. This is true regardless of whether it was a motor vehicle or a bicycle.