DWI on a Bicycle: New York Law

June 21, 2024


In a number of U.S. states, a person riding a bicycle while intoxicated can lead to the same DWI charges as those a person driving a regular motor vehicle or commercial vehicle could face. This is because the person on the bicycle is operating the “vehicle” while impaired, posing a danger to themselves, as well as others on the road. One argument against this is that the drunk cyclist, while certainly posing some degree of danger to others on the road, is actually more of a danger to themselves, given their condition and the lightweight nature of their mode of transportation as compared to other vehicles. Still, if an accident involving the cyclist were to occur, a chain reaction involving other vehicles is a definite possibility.

In New York State, however, you will not be charged with a DWI for riding a bicycle while drunk.The state explicitly defines the law as applying to the operation of a motor vehicle. This means that those riding standard bicycles, foot-operated scooters, skateboards, and other non-motorized vehicles while impaired are fortunate enough not to have to worry about DWI laws affecting them. However, this means that altered bicycles, etc., where a motor has been installed are not exempt from New York DWI laws. Also, this does not mean you will not be charged with some infraction. If you are found to be impaired, intoxicated, high on drugs, etc., while riding a bicycle, non-motorized scooter, skateboard, etc., it is likely that you could face misdemeanor charges such as public intoxication or some form of endangerment. While these are lesser charges with minor punishment, they will still result in court costs and additional fines. Further, if you are already a past offender, whatever the past charges may have been, a simple misdemeanor could land you in a lot of hot water.

If you plan to partake in the consumption of alcohol or any type of mind-impairing substance, it is best to err on the side of caution. Not only should you avoid motorized vehicles, but you should also stay off the non-motorized forms of transportation, and even park yourself at home or another safe location to avoid any potential legal trouble.

DWI Lawyers

If intoxication has landed you in trouble, whether while operating a motor vehicle or simply appearing drunk in public, you need the services of a qualified attorney to defend you against the charges in court. For a free and confidential case evaluation, give the DWI attorneys at Nave DWI Defense Attorneys a call at 1-866-792-7800 today.

The exclusive purpose of this article is educational and it is not intended as either legal advice or a general solution to any specific legal problem. Corporate offices for Nave DWI Defense Attorneys are located at 432 N. Franklin Street, Suite 80, Syracuse, NY 13204; Telephone No.: 1-866-792-7800. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Attorney Advertising.

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