August 25, 2012

Ohio DUI and Bicycles


I once witnessed my friend bike off under the influence which is code for being "drunk off of one's ass." He made it about 5 feet before crashing. His pride, ego, wrist, and front wheel were all bruised. While he paid $100ish to get a new wheel, what would have happened if a cop had seen this incident?

Ohio Revised Code 4511.52(B) states [emphasis added]:
(B) Except as provided in division (D) of this section, a bicycle operator who violates any section of the Revised Code described in division (A) of this section that is applicable to bicycles may be issued a ticket, citation, or summons by a law enforcement officer for the violation in the same manner as the operator of a motor vehicle would be cited for the same violation. A person who commits any such violation while operating a bicycle shall not have any points assessed against the person’s driver’s license, commercial driver’s license, temporary instruction permit, or probationary license under section 4510.036 of the Revised Code.
 That's cool, but what's the exception as provided in division (D) [emphasis added]?
(D) Divisions (B) and (C) of this section do not apply to violations of section 4511.19 of the Revised Code.
 The cross-referenced section is entitled:

4511.19 Operating vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs - OVI.
In other words, if my friend had been cited by a cop, he would have had points assessed towards his drivers license and potentially had his driver's license suspended.

So, be careful people. If you're drunk and think that you're safe to bike, make sure you're legal or at least able to appear legal because legislators have made sure that you will be hold as responsible as a driver even though you have a fraction of the momentum that a moving car has.

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