Cycling While Intoxicated – The Law

 We are quickly approaching the Fourth of July holiday weekend, and we figured that this would be a good time to discuss cycling while intoxicated.  It’s no secret that many cyclists here in the cities, enjoy a beer or two, in fact many different cycling events focus on this very thing.

But just because you are making the right choice to not drink and drive a car, doesn’t mean that it is a good idea to drink and hop on your bike.  A study of New York City cycling deaths between 1996-2005 showed that 21% of cyclists killed in accidents had alcohol in their system at the time of death.  While this is clearly not a direct cause and effect (drinking and riding = death), it should help to confirm for you what you probably already know, getting drunk and biking through the city probably isn’t the best idea.

Navigating the car and pot-hole filled street at night is challenging enough, without adding the slowed reaction times and poor judgement that result from a night of drinking.

While doing some research for this story, we did come across one interesting fact, while ill-advised, cycling while intoxicated isn’t actually illegal in the state of Minnesota. According to a post on Kevin Sieben’s Law blog “there is no law explicitly prohibiting bicycling under the influence.” But before you go mouthing off to a cop with this new-found knowledge, Kevin also cautioned with the following statement:

Just because there isn’t a specific “Bicycling While Intoxicated” law doesn’t mean you can’t get arrested. You can still be cited for any number of violations, including public intoxication and even careless driving (under MN Statute 169.13) — both serious offenses.

For more information be sure to follow the link to Kevin’s blog.  Remember to stay safe when you’re on your bicycle, if there is anything that the cycling community doesn’t need, it’s one less cyclist.

What about you?  Do you try to avoid excessive drinking and cycling or do you figure it is a better alternative to drinking and driving?  Let us know in the comments!


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