Contrary to popular misconception, YES, you can be arrested for drunk driving while on a bicycle in Florida. The state statute on driving under the influence (DUI) applies to anyone on a vehicle, and the law specifically excludes the word “motorized” when describing the offense. You could be charged if you have a blood alcohol concentration in excess of the legal limit, but officers could also arrest you if they believe your capabilities are impaired by alcohol. If convicted, you face up to six months in jail and a maximum fine of $1,000.
However, the potential for a criminal conviction is not the biggest concern for bicycle riders. Alcohol has the same effects on your mind and body no matter what vehicle you are operating, so you put yourself at risk of serious injuries in a Miami bicycle accident. Some information on the dangers should convince you to avoid riding after consuming alcohol.
Statistics on Drunk Driving and Bike Crashes
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that around 780 individuals on bicycles are killed in traffic collisions every year. Of these victims, one in five had a BAC of .08 percent or above – the legal limit in Florida and all US states. In addition:
- Bicycle riders are six times more likely to be injured in a bike accident after consuming just one drink.
- Riding with a BAC of .08% or more increases the potential for collisions by 2,000%.
- Impaired bicyclists rarely wear helmets and are more likely to ride at night.
- When a bike rider is injured in a DUI bicycle accident, he or she can expect hospitalization and medical costs to more than double.
How Alcohol Affects Your Capabilities
Even after just a few drinks, a person’s cognitive and physical abilities are impaired. Many individuals are prone to taking more risks, which is a significant problem when you are on a bicycle surrounded by heavier, faster motorized vehicles. Muscle coordination suffers, so an intoxicated rider may lose control of the bike, veer into oncoming traffic, or tip over into the path of another car. Impairment can also impact your visual capabilities, and you may not even identify a threat until it is too late.
How DUI Might Impact Your Rights
Being drunk while riding your bicycle can also affect your legal remedies if you seek to pursue an at-fault motorist for monetary damages. Even though the other driver may have been negligent in operating the vehicle, Florida has a law on comparative fault. Your compensation could be reduced by the percentage of fault attributable to your own carelessness.
Our Miami Bicycle Accidents Attorneys are Prepared for Challenges
This information about your legal rights might seem discouraging, but there may still be strategies for recovering compensation if you were hurt in a bicycle collision. For more information on your remedies, please contact Gerson & Schwartz, PA to schedule a no-cost consultation. You can reach our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL by calling (305) 371-6000 or filling out our online contact form.