Riding a Bicycle Under the Influence in Atlanta
Riding a bicycle under the influence of alcohol can seem like a safe choice since you are technically not drinking and driving. However, it is possible to get a DUI while riding a bicycle in Atlanta.
DUI On A Bicycle in Atlanta
Bicycles are subject to the same traffic laws as motor vehicles under Georgia law (Georgia Code §40-6-391). As a result, any individual operating or driving a vehicle (bike included) under the influence of drugs or with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher can be arrested for DUI. Regardless of your ability to ride safely.
Penalties for DUIs on Bicycles in Atlanta
Receiving a DUI on a bicycle in Atlanta is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to 12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. However, it is rare for an individual who received a DUI while riding a bicycle to receive the maximum sentence allowed under the law, and they will most likely be put on probation. Depending on the circumstances, the court may also require you to participate in a DUI Alcohol or Drug Risk Reduction Program managed by the Department of Driver Services in Georgia. It is a 20-hour class that can be taken in the evening over several weeks or on a two-day weekend. Receiving a DUI while riding a bicycle will not impact your driving privileges, but having a misdemeanor on your record can impact job or loan applications. Additionally, if you were responsible for causing a traffic accident, you can be held civilly liable for any resulting damages.
When Does Law Enforcement Arrest a Bicyclist Riding Under the Influence?
Law enforcement is generally more concerned about arresting drivers under the influence rather than bicycle riders. Car accidents involving an intoxicated driver can be catastrophic, often resulting in severe injuries and possibly fatalities. While a bicyclist riding while under the influence is typically only a risk to themselves. However, that does not mean a police officer will not take the time to stop a bicyclist they presume is intoxicated, especially if they are obviously belligerent or drawing unnecessary attention to themselves.
Accidents Involving a Bicycle Rider Under the Influence
When a drunk bicycle rider is involved in an accident, whether they are liable will depend on if they contributed to the collision. Under Georgia’s modified comparative negligence law, each party involved in an accident is assigned a percentage of fault, and their compensation is reduced accordingly. However, if a drunk bicyclist is 50% or more to blame for a collision, they will be liable for resulting damages. So, for example, if you are driving and crash into a drunk bicyclist if they are 50% or more at fault, you can hold them liable for your property damage, injury, and any other accident-related losses. On the other hand, if they are only 49% at fault or less, you will be unable to recover compensation and must pay for their damages even if they were drunk.