Drunken Bicycling – Dangerous, maybe; but Not Illegal in Washington

If you’ve ever given thought to riding to the local pub for a quick pint, you’ll be happy to know that it appears that you will not be subject to a “Bicycling Under the Influence” arrest.  The Revised Code of Washington actually states quite the opposite. (See RCW 46.61.790)   Furthermore, the Washington Court of Appeals has ruled that the DUI laws do not apply to intoxicated bicyclists (See, City of Montesano v. Daniel Wells)

Riding a bicycle while intoxicated in Washington state, while not subjecting the rider to an expensive DUI like arrest, certainly poses a substantial risk of grave injury to one’s self and to others who may be crossing the rider’s path.  In fact, one drunken woman, who might be married to a hapless lawyer who blogs about bike laws, has even run over a skunk.  The skunk appeared to be startled, but uninjured, and the woman’s bike definitely stunk!   Had the skunk been a person, I am confident that criminal liability could be established against the rider for all manners of reckless endangerment in the event of a drunken bicycle accident.  Therefore, while an intoxicated bicyclist is not offending the law by virtue of his or her status as an intoxicated bicyclist, the results could still cause injury or even extreme smelliness.

Thus, while it is legal to bicycle while intoxicated (presuming the rider is 21+ years old), there are other hidden criminal dangers, injuries, and skunks that make such a ride a bad idea.

***Brian Boice is not a criminal attorney, but he does like to ride his bike hither and thither, and he also offers affordable civil representation in several areas including premises liability, landlord-tenant disputes, and employment disputes.***


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    November 9th, 2010 at 11:42 am

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    November 13th, 2010 at 8:23 pm

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