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In Colorado, drunk cyclists face same penalties as drunk drivers

Last updated 3 years ago

You know better than to get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol, but did you know that you can be charged with driving under the influence (DUI) if you ride a bicycle while intoxicated? You must also be sober when operating a golf cart, scooter or motorcycle. 

Some states allow bike enthusiasts to ride after drinking alcohol, but under Colorado law, bicyclists are subject to the exact same laws as motorists. That means if you are cycling with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .05 percent or higher, you can be charged with driving while ability impaired (DWAI). A BAC of .08 percent or higher puts you at risk of incurring a DUI charge. 

According to local news outlet Westword, Denver began enforcing drunk cycling laws in 2012, after an accident involving an allegedly intoxicated bicyclist and a scooter driver. The latter was charged with DUI but the former was not. The scooter driver complained, prompting the change in city policy. 

"Looking into it, I didn't have a sufficient reason as to why we weren't [charging intoxicated cyclists]," Denver police Lt. Rob Rock told local TV news affiliate CBS-4. "That's why we took steps with the Denver [District Attorney's] office to rectify that policy."

Rock told the outlet that the number of serious cycling crashes had started to go up as more people began biking regularly around the city. 

If you are ever accused of DUI or another criminal traffic offense, remember that the decision to hire an experienced Colorado DUI attorney to represent your legal interests could greatly influence the penalties you ultimately face. Call The Orr Law Firm to schedule an initial consultation today.



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