In some states, if you’re caught riding your bike while intoxicated, you can be given a DUI, just the same as you would be if you were behind the wheel of your car. Is the same system in place in New York?
It is not. You won’t be given a DUI on a bike in the Empire State. The reason other states do this is that they’ve interpreted the laws to apply to any type of vehicle, including a bike, but the laws in New York say that a DUI is for someone in a motor vehicle explicitly.
That’s why you can get a DUI on a motorcycle or a moped, but not on a bike.
However, that doesn’t mean you’ll never face any charges. If you are overly drunk, you could get public intoxication charges. If you are putting other people in danger with the way that you’re riding—if you run into pedestrians who are on foot, for example—you could get reckless endangerment charges. There are still laws in place to regulate what you can do.
If you can still bike safety and you are under control, though, even if you’ve been drinking, you shouldn’t have anything to worry about. This is why people sometimes prefer to ride their bikes to the local bar, rather than driving. They don’t have to worry about how they’ll get home if they have one drink too many.
This law is important to note for tourists, who may be used to stricter DUI laws.
Those who are facing DUI charges and related charges must know what legal options they have.
Source: Village Voice, “Biking While Drunk Is Not Illegal, Just a Really Bad Idea,” Jen Doll, accessed May 13, 2016