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..including himself.

Fair, but BWI is certainly the lesser of two evils. Had he been as drunk as he was and driving a vehicle that was eight times as wide, he probably would have hit the kid.

Agreed, BWI is not as bad as DWI.

But it's not as nice as DCA. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.)

Biking while intoxicated certainly lesser of two evils, though. Personally, I'd rather be hit my a drunk person on a 30 lb. bike than a drunk person in a 2 ton automobile.

I'd rather not have any drunk cyclists or drunk drivers at all. I don't mind that they are prosecuting this guy. Not only is he a menace to others but he also tarnishes the reputation of cyclists in general. And then that leads to Kornheiser-type rants and threats from others.

That's unfair. Kornheiser only wants to give him a little "love bump" on his back wheel.

Clearly the intoxicated driver statute applies to cyclists. Even absent the definition of a vehicle there is another section of DC Code that says that laws applying to operators of vehicles apply to cyclists operating on roadways. (What would be a question is whether a cyclist operating somewhere other than the roadway, such as a sidewalk or bike path, would be subject to the statute.)

A better legal argument (although still a long-shot) would be to challenge the consitutionality of the application of the statute to cyclists. It's instructive to look at the history of seat-belt laws. About twenty years ago, when seat-belt laws first started appearing, they were challenged on constitutional grounds. A law must serve a public purpose, the argument went, and protecting yourself from the consequences of your own actions is not considered a constitutionally valid purpose. In the seat-belt cases, the courts did not accept evidence of the safety benefits to the driver as evidence of a public purpose. However, the states were able to show that seat-belts help drivers keep control of their vehicles during accidents, which benefits others around them and thus serves a public purpose. That this purpose was ancillary to the main purpose of seat-belts was irrelevant to the courts, and the seat-belt laws were allowed to stand. The standard for a public purpose is very low; it doesn't have to be the main purpose of a law, but it has to exist.

So the prosecution should be made to show that intoxicated cycling (or droving draft animals or beasts of burden for that matter) poses a public danger to anyone other than the operator which the state has an interest in preventing. And they're not allowed to say "it's common sense," they have to introduce real evidence. I believe that this would be a very difficult thing to prove given the general dearth of reliable bicycle-related safety data.

My broader point is that I believe that too often cycling is viewed through the wrong lens, as basically like driving. Driving is highly regulated because it is a public danger; cars kill about 40,000 people a year in this country. Cycling is regulated essentially at the same level even though it poses nowhere near the public danger. Driving is under-regulated relative to the danger, and cycling is over-regulated. As cyclists we shouldn't concede this point, and we should demand an appropriate level of regulation.

Of course, I don't advocate drunk driving. I just don't believe it should be subject to draconian criminal penalties.


In your last paragraph, you mean "drunk cycling", I assume?

Many countries recognize that one should not cycle while intoxicated. But the limits for cycling offenses are higher then for car drivers or motorcyclists. That makes sense since we are talking 30lbs v. ~4,400lbs (or 400-700lbs for a motorcycle).

I know that in Germany you can lose your driver's license when you cycle drunk over the limit (whatever the limit is which I have not checked but it is something like .15 IIRC).

But seriously, there has to be some allowance for the fact that you are NOT operating a potentially deadly weapon (if I may call our cars that).

What's next: WUI, Wlaking under the influence?

Correct, I meant "drunk cycling."

In reality this guy's initial crime wasn't DUI, it was failing the "attitude test". If you're sh*t-house drunk and refuse a lawful request/order from a cop your get what you deserve. An MPD officer tried to give him the chance to walk home and wasn't even going to cite him for public intoxication. Public intoxication would also be called "walking under the influence" and it's illegal too. All this guy had to do was stumble out of sight of the cop and then [try to] ride home. He was apparently too stupid and/or drunk to do that. Honestly - I ride 'tipsy' on occasion when coming home from the bar and have had police contact on more than one of these rides. The right answer is "yes sir [or ma'am]". Don't be a moron and you won't wake up in jail. Not rocket science.

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