Posted by Jim Yeargan in Atlanta DUI Law on April 6, 2015
Can You Get A DUI On A Bike?
Can you get a DUI on a bike? In Georgia, the answer is yes. Title 40 of the Official Code of Georgia (O.C.G.A.) is the code that governs motor vehicles in Georgia. Title 40 defines a motor vehicle as “Every vehicle which is self-propelled other than an electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD).”
A bicycle meets the definition laid out in O.C.G.A. 40-1-1 (33) because a bicycle is a self-propelled vehicle. The entire code of definitions may be found here.
Georgia’s DUI Statute O.C.G.A. 40-6-391
Georgia’s DUI statute is O.C.G.A. 40-6-391 which applies to “any moving vehicle.” Based on these definitions you can get a DUI on a bicycle in Georgia. Georgia’s DUI statute may be found here
I Have Even Prosecuted Cyclists For Violation Of The Motor Vehicle Code
During my 3 years as a prosecutor, I never prosecuted anyone for DUI on a bicycle, but I did prosecute bicyclists for not obeying the laws of the road such as running a red light. I have even seen people charged with DUI and Driving On A Suspended License because they were on a Hoveround, Rascal, or other motor-powered “vehicle.”
Bicycles Are Motor Vehicles In Georgia
The most important thing to know is bicycles are motor vehicles in Georgia. Cyclists must obey the same rules of the road as automobile drivers. Bicyclists must drive on the right side of the road, stop for red lights, use turn signals (even if by hand), and not impede the free flow of traffic. In my experience, most cyclists break most of these laws, but they are supposed to obey them.
Cyclists should obey these laws because the stakes are much higher if a cyclist is involved in an automobile accident. If the truth be known, most people are probably safer getting involved in an accident in a car than they would be if they were on a bicycle.
A bicycle does not offer impact protection, seat belts, or airbags. Cyclists need to use more caution than their automobile counterparts.
Also, if someone has a suspended license they cannot legally ride a bicycle as an alternate mode of travel.