Can You Get a DUI While Riding a Bike in Pennsylvania?

When you know you’ve had a bit too much to drink and that driving a car is not a good idea, hitching a ride with a designated driver or calling a rideshare makes a lot of sense. But what if you have access to a bicycle. Whether it’s your own or one you can rent on the street, do you have the same risk of being charged with DUI on a bike as you would in a car?

The two may not seem like they’re on the same level, but as far as the state of Pennsylvania is concerned, the two are treated in the exact same way. If you peddle away from a bar or party with a Blood Alcohol Content above .08, you’re breaking the law, and if you’re weaving or in some other way giving police reason to question your sobriety, you face a very real chance of being pulled over and charged.

The Pennsylvania law makes no distinction between a motorized vehicle and one that you power for yourself. In fact, Pennsylvania Vehicle Code 102 is very specific in being inclusive of all types of vehicles: it reads “Every device in, upon or by which any person or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except devices used exclusively upon rails or tracks.” That encompasses scooters, mopeds, and bicycles to the same degree as motorcycles, car, and trucks. Likewise, being charged with DUI is applicable to drugs in the same way that it is to alcohol, and is subject to the same exact penalties, including being charged hefty fines, facing significant jail time and having a criminal record attached to your name.

If you don’t think it can happen to you, or that police will be more forgiving of a cyclist who is pedaling while drunk or high, consider this: a 32-year old Pennsylvania man was pulled over in 2013 for riding his bike with a Blood Alcohol Concentration of .164 – more than twice the legal limit. Despite the fact that he was in a college town and not on a vehicle that could be construed as a potentially deadly weapon, the man was convicted in a non-jury trial.

When in doubt about DUI, always choose the safest alternative, and if you are charged with DUI contact our office to learn about how we can help.