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Cycling and Alcohol: Can You Get a DUI on a Bike in Florida?

Alcohol is a prominent and common factor in road collisions and traffic accidents due to its ability to impair cognitive function. Drunk driving is not only a ballooning problem for cars and motorcycles but also non-motorized vehicles, like bicycles. 

According to the NHTSA, approximately 26% of fatal bicycle accidents in 2018 were associated with driving under the influence. In fact, cyclists involved were found to have an average blood alcohol content of +0.01g/dl.

Unsurprisingly, studies suggest that driving bicycles while intoxicated increases one’s risk of sustaining severe body injuries to oneself or a pedestrian. 

Although drunk driving is a criminal offense, there are varying laws per state when it comes to DUI on a bike. The Florida statute on driving under the influence applies to ALL types of vehicles, motorized or non-motorized, like bicycles. 

Learn more about cycling, alcohol, and DUI in the state of Florida below.

What is driving under the influence or DUI?

Driving under the influence refers to a criminal offense used to charge drivers who operate vehicles while intoxicated with alcohol and other substances. In simpler terms, a DUI may also refer to impaired driving or drunk driving. 

Law enforcement authorities have the right to stop a vehicle suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and other controlled substances. An officer of the law may get their suspicions when they witness a vehicle exhibiting erratic or dangerous behavior on the road.

Authorities will ask the suspected driver to undergo a breath, blood, or urine test to confirm a DUI. Under the law, arresting officers can charge a driver with a DUI when blood alcohol concentration is at 0.08% or higher. 

In some cases, officers can also detain a driver they deem to be dangerous to themselves or others due to intoxication.

Can you get charged with a DUI on a bike?

Each state has varying rules and regulations when it comes to DUI. In Florida, the laws state that all rules, duties, and restrictions of a vehicular driver also apply to bicycle riders or cyclists. This means you can get a DUI for drunk driving a bicycle, specifically if your BAC is at 0.08% or higher after a breathalyzer.

The penalties for driving under the influence depend on an individual’s prior DUI convictions. It may include fines, fees, suspension, loss of license, or court-ordered treatment. Some of the specifics include the following:

  • A possible fine of $500 to $2000. If BAC is .15 and above, you may need to pay a fine of $2000 to $4000.
  • A mandatory community service of about 50 hours or a fine of $10 for each required hour.
  • A possible jail time of 1 year or more.
  • A license suspension of about six months or more.
  • A possible probation period of a year or more.
  • An imprisonment length will depend on an individual’s BAC level and prior convictions.

Bicycle riders charged with a DUI may receive less severe penalties or punishment compared to motorized vehicles. However, it may entail other consequences depending on the nature of the offense, such as bike impoundment.

How can a DUI affect your case?

First-time DUI offenders (without priors) usually get misdemeanor charges. But if someone was hurt, another car was damaged, or a minor was involved, then the charges may be more severe. 

Moreover, driving under the influence can significantly hurt your compensation claim even if you're not at fault. A DUI will also negatively impact your financials, license, career, and freedom the hardest.

Lastly, a DUI conviction can be hard to erase off your record, thus affecting your future employment plans, education, and mortgage.

What you need to know after a drunk driving accident

Victims of car accidents caused by a drunk driver have the right to criminally hold the at-fault party responsible for their dangerous behavior. Here are some important tips to keep in mind if you ever find yourself in a car collision with a driver whose under the influence.

  • Call 911 and seek emergency services. It’s critical to get medical attention immediately, even if there are no apparent injuries to you or your passengers. Then, inform the police or traffic authorities about the accident so an official report can be made.
  • Obtain vital information. Take photographs or videos of the crash scene, visible injuries, and vehicle damages. Make sure to look for potential witnesses that could have seen the drunk driver’s reckless actions. 
  • Know your rights. The state is responsible for pressing a DUI charge against the drunk driver. But you may also file a civil claim to financially hold them accountable for the injuries you sustained due to the accident. 
  • Contact an experienced car accident lawyer. An attorney specializing in car accidents or drunk driving incidents can help you file several claims so you can get compensated by the at-fault party’s insurance company or your own.
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Where to find a car accident attorney with a free consultation?

Atty Rafael Gonzalez of Ask My Attorneys specializes in representing various cases of vehicular accidents, including bicycle accidents, in court. He is also a personal injury attorney in Broward County, whose well-known for upholding the rights of car accident victims and ensuring that they receive a fair settlement and compensation. 

Call us now at 954-961-5100 or contact our personal injury attorney for a Free Case Evaluation and get more information about your legal situation. We also offer our legal services to the following areas:

Are you looking for a car accident lawyer in Spanish? Our team speaks in both Spanish and English. You can now rest easy knowing that you’ll get the proper legal representation that you deserve. 

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Meet Atty. Rafael Gonzalez

Attorney Rafael A. Gonzalez received his Juris Doctorate from the University of Miami School of Law. 

While at the University of Miami, Mr. Gonzalez earned a judicial clerk position with the Honorable Judge Shelley Kravitz of the County Court House for Miami Dade County and took part in one of the largest product liability litigation cases in the United States. The case, Engle v Liggett, was against tobacco companies and resulted in a 145 billion dollar award to the plaintiffs. 

Mr. Gonzalez earned his stripes working with firms in Downtown Miami and Hialeah, Florida as a civil attorney. In 2010, Mr. Gonzalez joined forces with other civil litigators as a partner in the law firm of Freeman, Mallard, Sharp and Gonzalez specializing in motor vehicle accidents.

Read more about him here.
02/01/2023
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