Beer, bikes, and boats – a fun summer mix in theory, but, in addition to having the potential to be very dangerous, it can also be illegal!
I’m sure you’re all aware that drinking and driving is against the law, but the next time you want to ride your bicycle to the local bar to avoid getting a Driving Under the Influence (DUI), you should probably come up with another plan. If your state considers a bicycle a “vehicle” then DUI laws will apply, and riding a bike while intoxicated can result in getting arrested and paying a fine!
In California, for example, it is unlawful to ride a bike on a highway while intoxicated (this excludes driveways and private roads). Getting a Bicycling Under the Influence or Cycling Under the Influence (BUI or CUI) means you’ll spend time in jail – until you sober up – and pay up to a $250 fine.
And if you think riding a bike while intoxicated is a better alternative to driving drunk, think again. A study done at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland has determined that serious injury or even death is five times more likely on a bicycle after having just one drink. That risk increases to 20 times after five drinks have been consumed.
When it comes to boating, no matter which state you’re in, if you’re operating the boat, it is illegal for you to be under the influence of alcohol (at .035% a boater’s ability to operate a boat is impaired), and getting a Boating While Impaired (BWI) can result in fines and jail time, which can be very severe if an accident is involved.
The difference between cars and boats, however, is there’s no “open container” law, which means passengers are lawfully allowed to drink. But, keep this in mind: according to the State of California Department of Boating and Waterways, “In 41% of alcohol-related fatalities, intoxicated passengers were the victims of or contributed to the accidents”.
Now, I don’t mean to put a damper on your summertime activities, I just want you to be aware of the laws in your state, and, most importantly, stay safe while you’re out having fun in the sun!