Dangers of Biking Under the Influence of Alcohol
San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer on Cycling Safety
After an evening of drinking, it might seem like a better idea to reach for your bike helmet instead of your car keys. However, biking under the influence of alcohol is still dangerous, and could result in a serious cycling accident. You could even be charged with a crime under California bicycle laws. Even if you are a recreational cyclist, you should treat your bike like your car when alcohol is involved. San Diego bicycle accident lawyer Frederick M. Dudek believes in raising awareness of the dangers of drunk cycling. Understanding the consequences of biking under the influence can help you avoid a serious cycling accident.
What Are the Dangers of Biking Under the Influence?
The reason that it is illegal in California to drive a car or ride a bicycle after drinking is that alcohol impairs your ability to do either of these things safely. Biking under the influence significantly increases your chances of having a cycling accident, possibly resulting in serious injuries or death. In fact, nearly a quarter of all fatal bicycle accidents involve a drunk cyclist. Some of the effects of alcohol that can lead to a cycling accident include:
- Impaired vision
- Slower reaction times
- Inability to concentrate
- Reduced fine motor skills and balance
Riding a bike requires possibly even more coordination and concentration than driving a car. Not only do you have to steer, but you must also maintain balance and speed while still obeying traffic signs. Alcohol affects your ability to do all of these things. After drinking, you will be less able to avoid obstacles such as cars, pedestrians, street signs and road debris. You may also struggle to keep your bike upright and will be less likely to notice traffic lights and signals. These issues could lead to a painful fall or even a car accident if you swerve into traffic.
Is Drunk Cycling Illegal According to California Bicycle Laws?
Many states classify bicycles as “vehicles”, making cyclists subject to the same alcohol laws as drivers. However, California has a separate set of regulations governing cyclists. These California bicycle laws prohibit cycling under the influence or C.U.I. While these laws do not specifically define a legal blood alcohol content for cyclists, the limit for drivers is 0.08%. Police can stop anyone riding a bike who is exhibiting signs of intoxication. These signs include weaving, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol on the breath.
If you are convicted of a C.U.I, you could pay fines and have a misdemeanor charge on your record. Those under 21 years of age could face additional penalties. Even worse, you could end up seriously hurting yourself or others. The best way to prevent these consequences is to avoid biking under the influence completely.
Questions about California Bike Laws? Contact a San Diego Bicycle Accident Lawyer
Always following California’s cycling laws is the best way to not only avoid a criminal charge. It also keeps you safe safe. If you are involved in a cycling accident with a car or other vehicle, then you may be able to hold the driver accountable for your injuries. However, if you were riding under the influence, then your case will probably be dismissed. You might even end up with a fine on top of the cost of your medical bills.
If you have questions about California’s drunk cycling laws, then bike accident attorney Frederick M. Dudek can help. As an avid cyclist himself, Fred cares about keeping bike enthusiasts safe by raising awareness of the dangers of drunk cycling. Contact his law firm online or call his office today to schedule a free consultation.