Although most people recognize the illegality of driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, not many realize that it is also unlawful to bicycle while intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Cal. Veh. Code § 21200.5 states that it is illegal for any person to ride a bicycle on a highway while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or a combination of the two.
The penalties for this offense, however, are far more lenient than those for driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs; for cycling under the influence, the penalty constitutes a maximum $250 fine; there is no jail sentence possible for cycling while intoxicated. Nonetheless, this offense is a misdemeanor under California law, not an infraction.
For individuals who are at least 13 years old and not 21 years old and are caught cycling under the influence, the penalties are significantly more severe. Specifically, these individuals can face a yearlong driver’s license suspension, or, if they do not yet have a driver’s license, they will be subject to a delay of one year before they can become eligible to get a license.
The term “highway” as used in this code section is quite broad, as it applies to any publicly maintained and public road, street, alley, or other thoroughfare. Therefore, unless you are riding your bike while intoxicated in a private driveway or on a private road, you probably are riding on a highway within the meaning of this code section.
Even worse than these penalties, however, is the possibility that you could be involved in a motor vehicle accident while cycling under the influence. Alcohol and drugs adversely affect your reaction time, which can lead to catastrophes when riding alongside motor vehicles. If you fail to stop at a traffic signal in time, for instance, you may suffer serious injuries. Plus, even if another driver is partially at fault for the accident that led to your injuries, your ability to recover compensation for your injuries may be limited by some fault being attributed to you being under the influence of alcohol or drug.
If you have suffered injuries while riding a bicycle, you may greatly benefit from calling us today and getting the advice that you need. Bonnici Law Group has the experience and knowledge that is invaluable when making a claim for compensation following a bicycle accident. When you need answers, contact Bonnici Law Group today at 619-259-5199. As we focus our efforts on bike-related personal injury cases, we know how to protect your rights and build a strong claim for compensation in your case.