Drunk Bicyclists, Beware: Court Upholds DUI Conviction
Can you ride a bicycle while wasted? Practically, maybe, but legally, no, according to a D.C. Court of Appeals ruling issued today.
Police reportedly found Baker N. Everton yelling on a Petworth sidewalk on January 12, 2007. He was slurring his words and could "hardly stand," according to court papers. Then he went to his bike:
"The officers asked appellant to quiet down and move on, and told him not to ride his bicycle because he was so intoxicated. Appellant, however, proceeded to ride his bicycle. Officer Mahl repeated his warning not to ride the bicycle, but appellant rode away. As he crossed Otis Place, appellant almost hit a small child who was in the crosswalk. Appellant then lost control of the bicycle and fell on the ground."
Everton was allegedly trashed enough to nearly hit a kid, which earned him a DUI citation. However, his lawyer argued that since a bike isn't a car, he didn't deserve the DUI.
The Court of Appeals disagreed, basing its opinion on 1925's Traffic Act. The Act defines a vehicle as anything that can be moved over a highway, so Everton was out of luck.
Also in trouble: drunk farmers in town for a good time. The Traffic Act includes "draft animals" and "beasts of burden" as vehicles, too.