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Drunk biking: Yes, it's a serious offense

A bicycle is a great way to get around town in Mt. Pleasant. However, bicyclists need to remember that they, too, are bound by the same rules as motor vehicle drivers. Drunk bicycle riding is no exception to the rule, but not in the usual sense of driving under the influence (DUI).

If a police officer sees you riding on your bike while swerving from side to side and breaking traffic laws, you could get pulled over and charged with a traffic crime. The officer may also decide to arrest you and charge you with public drunkenness and/or disorderly conduct.

The difference between drunk biking and drunk driving

No one should ever operate a bicycle while intoxicated, as it's a real safety hazard. But the South Carolina courts view a drunk bike rider differently from a drunk motorist. Courts (and South Carolina laws) differentiate between drunk biking and drunk driving, and riding your bike while inebriated is the lesser of the two evils because a drunk bike rider is not likely to do as much harm as a drunk motorist.

That said, injuries and accidents caused by drunk biking can have devastating effects. They can also cause larger and more serious vehicular accidents that involve multiple cars. As such, police take drunk biking seriously, and judges will severely punish those who endanger their fellow citizens in this fashion. Nevertheless, the law does not permit a charge of DUI.

South Carolina laws and drunk biking

Although some states specifically prohibit drunk bicycling and lump it together with DUI and DWI offenses, in South Carolina, these laws only apply to people on motorized devices. As long as your bicycle is fully pedal-powered and has no electric or gas motor attached to it, you're not in danger of getting charged with DUI on a bicycle in our state.

Don't take your chances: Always ride your bike responsibly

South Carolina bikers are encouraged not to ever take any chances. After all, being drunk on a bike can result in other criminal charges, such as public drunkenness and disorderly conduct. Also, causing an accident as a result of drink bicycle riding can open up cyclists to serious liability concerns.

Were you charged with an alcohol-related crime? Whether it involved drunk biking, drunk driving, drunk boating or a serious or fatal accident -- you have the right to defend yourself in court.

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