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Old June 22nd, 2012, 05:20 PM   #1
SpatialCadet
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Bicycling | BUI - Drunk Bicycling

I am curious about the rules around the world and experiences of people "[bi]cycling under the influence (BUI / CUI)." It seems pretty common a lot of places and laws are certianly all over the place.

Of course BAC is calculated differently in different countiries, check wikipedia on BAC.


Europe
Austria The same rules and fines apply as to drivers, but with a higher BAC limit.
Law: Federal: Straßenverkehrsordnung (StVO) § 5, § 99 Abs. 1b
BAC limit: 0.8g/l (0.5g/l for motorized transport)
Punishment: €800 to €3700 (or you can sit it out in jail for up to six weeks if you don't want to pay.)
Drivers licence penatly: You normally won't loose your drivers liscence if you have one or get any points against it but a note is added to your file and it's problematic if there are other alcohol-related incidents on record. Its also a problem if you have a CDL (truck or bus licence).
Enforcement: Bicycles are also stopped at frequent drunk-driver check-points, especailly in cities or around major events.

Germany The same rules apply as do to drivers, fine are lower.
Law: Federal: Straßenverkehrsordnung (StVO), penatly as per § 316 StGB
BAC limit: 0.3g/l possible penatly if dangerous, form 1.8g/l penatly and medical testing required (lower for motorized transport)
Punishment: Starts at 10 day's wages (probablly around €400) up to 60 day's wages (easily millions if you're rich enough). Higher fines and/or imprisonment for repeat offenders.
Drivers licence penatly: Points are made against licence, possibility to be banned from bicycling for a period of time.
Enforcement: Little enforcement in my experience, but maybe others know better.

United Kingdom
Law: National: Licensing Act 1872 (also bans being drunk in bars, generally never enforced), Section 30 Road Traffic Act 1988.
BAC limit: "to such an extent as to be incapable of having proper control of the cycle."
Punishment: up to £2500
Drivers licence penatly: No points [endorsements] are made against licence.
Enforcement: You are not obliged to submit breath or blood sample.


North America
Canada Not a crime.
Law: None prohibits, local public intoxication laws may be used to detain and charge cyclists.
BAC limit: None.
Punishment: Detainment to sober-up and $65 (Toronto) for public intoxication.
Drivers licence penatly: None.
Enforcement: Some using public intoxication laws.

USA - State-by-state.
No national laws, mostly state traffic codes legislate this:

California Prohibited but legislated sperately than driving.
Law: California Vehicle Code
BAC limit: ?
Punishment: $250
Drivers licence penatly: None.
Enforcement: ?

Wisconsin Technically the same as for driving, which is also poorly enforced.
Law: Wisconsin State Statutes 340.05(5), 346.02(4)(a), 346.80(2)(a)
BAC limit: Technically 0.08
Punishment: Fine, drivers usually don't even loose licence for repeat drunk driving.
Drivers licence penatly: Technically possible, but highly unlikely.
Enforcement: Little and when, then mostly using public intoxication laws, with a warning or around $100 fine.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 05:23 PM   #2
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Also a few interesting articles:
Daily Beast: Biking While Drunk 15 October 2010.

Alcohol, bicycling, and head and brain injury: a study of impaired cyclists' riding patterns R1 study from 08 October 2008.
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Old June 22nd, 2012, 06:14 PM   #3
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In Italy cycling under influence is illegal and there are been cases of people who had their bicycle confiscated and even their licence suspended, although the suspension of the licence for those violations is controversial because you don't need it to drive that vehicle.
Few months ago one was caught cycling in Treviso with 2.5 of alchool when the legal limit for driving is 0.5.
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Old August 9th, 2012, 10:12 PM   #4
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I guess it took a drunk her/himself to be launching this thread with its blunder of a typo -- 'bicycling' isn't a word in any of the English languages, s/he ought to have written "cycling"
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Old August 16th, 2012, 11:32 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainrover View Post
I guess it took a drunk her/himself to be launching this thread with its blunder of a typo -- 'bicycling' isn't a word in any of the English languages, s/he ought to have written "cycling"
I admit its true that "bicylcing" is really not a word , though "bicycling" is in North American English.
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Old August 16th, 2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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No it isn't, you're wrong.
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Old August 27th, 2012, 03:31 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trainrover View Post
No it isn't, you're wrong.
Very substantive claim. If its good enough for Susan B. Anthony, its good enough for me:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Susan B. Anthony in New York World, February 2, 1896
Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel... the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.
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Old August 28th, 2012, 09:31 PM   #8
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I believe that in Sweden BUI is legal. Not sure about that, but so I heard.
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Old September 17th, 2012, 07:30 AM   #9
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How it works in a lot of US states is they can wham the drunken biker with being drunk in public
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Old October 2nd, 2012, 05:59 PM   #10
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yeah, i agree, I guess it took a drunk her/himself to be launching this thread with its blunder of a typo -- 'bicycling' isn't a word in any of the English languages, s/he ought to have written "cycling"
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Old October 5th, 2012, 03:48 PM   #11
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In Estonia it is prohibited (since technically you are a "driver" then), but the funny thing is that if you push the bike next to you, everything is ok. So if you spot the police, then just quickly get off the bike
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Old May 26th, 2013, 04:24 PM   #12
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In The Netherlands it is prohibited as well. Same rules that apply for cardrivers also apply for bikers, although police is not quick to act on that.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 12:13 AM   #13
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Here in Brazil there's no specific law about it. However authorities might use analogy to fine you. Police really doesn't care much about it and I've seen only once a guy being sanctioned for riding drunk.
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Old May 27th, 2013, 01:06 AM   #14
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There probably is a law against it Norway, but I have never heard of anyone receiving a fine or ticket for it, and I'm perfectly fine with the status quo.

If one is intoxicated enough to not manage the bike and in risk of hurting oneself or others, the bike should be confiscated IMO.
However, a little velvet buzz and cycling goes together perfectly!
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Old May 27th, 2013, 01:50 AM   #15
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In Belgrade police doesn't pay attention to bicycle riders as they are rarely seen on the streets but in Vojvodina not only do they get fined for drunk bicycling they also get fined for exceeding speed limits, using cell phones or not having all the necessary equipment. It is covered by the same law on transport safety as car driving. Although cases south of Vojvodina exist too, for an example in Cacak some rider made news in January 2012 when he reached around 3000 EUR in fines for getting caught 26 times for BUI
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Old April 5th, 2015, 03:54 PM   #16
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в Украине таких лимитов нет, а жаль
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Old April 7th, 2015, 01:05 AM   #17
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Something I have done plenty of times in the UK, not a major issue I think as you can cause a lot less damage than you could in a car and if you are struggling to keep it in a straight line you can always get off and walk. I regularly cycle home after 3-4 pints without any issues but if I have had a few more I would leave it behind and take the bus or a taxi.
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Old April 7th, 2015, 09:38 PM   #18
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But you can drive in front of a car and get killed, or cause some accident due to this...
But surely it depends how drunk are you
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Old April 8th, 2015, 11:12 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ikops View Post
In The Netherlands it is prohibited as well. Same rules that apply for cardrivers also apply for bikers, although police is not quick to act on that.
Probably because they prefer you biking over driving when you're drunk. If you're cycling drunk, you're most likely to hurt only yourself. Driving under the influence, however...
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Old December 21st, 2016, 04:06 AM   #20
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I got a DUI on a mountain bike in 2005 in Ohio. It was Labor Day Weekend and a state highway patrolman was parked at the exit off of a grade-separated state route that looks like an interstate highway but isn't. He was waiting for drunks to come off the ramp when I pedaled by on my way home from a bar. This happened on a Monday night (Labor Day).

I drank 3 Miller High Lifes and 1 shot of Jameson in about 2 hours and ended up blowing a .1 (Ohio's limit is .08). So I was over by approximately 1 cheap beer, however I later found out that I had been tricked into blowing extra hard into the machine, since blowing as hard as you can actually ejects undigested alcohol directly into the machine and inflates your BAC. So I was probably right at .08.

I hired a lawyer but he didn't want to go to trial because the police officer had probable cause to pull me over because I was bicycling at night without a light. The prosecutor did lower the charge to reckless operation of a motor vehicle and I pled no contest. I ended up doing one of those weekend rehab programs and 14 hours of community service at a soup kitchen. I was on probation for 2 years. I lost my driver's license for six months but didn't own a car at the time so didn't get it impounded.

In all the incident cost me about $5,000 between the lawyer, fines, and sky-high car insurance when I did end up buying a car a year later. I remember that I had to pay $800just to get insurance, then my payments were like $120/mo for an old car even though I had no prior offenses.
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