Friday, January 25, 2013

Cycling Legalese - Cycling and Drinking: Just How Much Trouble Can You Find Yourself In?

I am very proud that The Chicago Bicycle Advocate and Urban Velo have teamed up to create a new column, Cycling Legalese. The column will appear twice monthly on the Urban Velo website.  In it I will be answering readers' questions about cycling and the law. Below is the latest edition. 

Q:I love fueling my rides through the city with beer and Malört, but I’m wondering; could I get in trouble for biking under the influence?

The degree to which you can find yourself in legal trouble for cycling while intoxicated varies depending on where you are. In some places, bicyclists cannot be charged under a particular state’s DUI law. In Illinois, for example, the appellate court decided in 1995 that the state’s DUI statute only applies to a “vehicle.” Under the Illinois Motor Vehicle Code a bicycle is not considered a vehicle. Therefore, cyclists may not be charged under that particular law. The same is true in New York and several other states. However, if you are drunk and acting a fool. . .

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