Can You Get a DUI on a Bicycle? - Sand Law North Dakota
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Can You Get a DUI on a Bicycle?

10th May 2024

Bicycle and motorcycle laying in the middle of the road overturned after a collision caused by a drunk bicyclist

Bicyclists riding under the influence can face legal consequences if their actions injure others or damage property.


  • In North Dakota, bicycling while intoxicated by alcohol used to be punishable similarly to a DUI any driver would face, but the enactment of HB 1506 into law changed that.
  • Driving under the influence while on a bike is still a punishable offense. It carries up to a $200 fine.
  • Drunk bicyclists may potentially face additional criminal offenses for their actions, which may necessitate them hiring a criminal defense attorney to defend them in court.

In a scenario where you anticipate getting drunk, like a party or dinner with friends, you may be planning to take your bike to get home safely. While this allows you to avoid getting behind the wheel of a car if you don’t have a designated driver, bicycling while drunk can still result in serious injuries.

Another factor to consider is the potential legal ramifications. If you’re trying to be responsible,  you may search to find out, “Can you get a DUI on a bicycle?” The legal repercussions of causing harm while biking under the influence have lessened in recent years, but you should still take them seriously.

At Sand Law, our North Dakota criminal defense attorneys are prepared to advocate for you if you were involved in a bicycle accident while drinking. We have years of experience representing clients and ensuring fair outcomes. You can schedule a free consultation with us at (701) 394-4744 or use our contact form to request a free case evaluation.

Drunk Driving in North Dakota

According to Vision Zero, an initiative of the North Dakota state government, at least 38% of all fatal crashes that occurred in our state in 2022 were alcohol-related. A new accident caused by an alcohol-involved collision occurs every 13 hours here.

While you may initially think drunk drivers are the only ones responsible for causing bike crashes involving alcohol, think again. Even though it may seem a bit far-fetched to believe that a drunk bicyclist could cause a wreck, since impairments wouldn’t be any different, it’s possible. Bicycle accidents caused by intoxicated riders can lead to catastrophic injuries or fatalities.

Whether you’re planning to bicycle home after drinking at a holiday party, explore the town after a few drinks on your bike, or you have another reason for cycling under the influence, it’s wise to be aware of the possible legal effects of getting into an accident.

Asking, “Can you get a DUI on a bicycle?” before you head out is a good place to start. North Dakota bicyclists can no longer get charged with DUIs, although this used to be the case. However, that does not mean that drunk bicyclists who cause injuries are exempt from any legal consequences.

Drunk Driving Laws Affecting Bicyclists Recently Changed in North Dakota

House Bill (HB) 1506 made it through both legislative bodies and became law on April 10, 2023. Once enacted, the newly amended section of code made it so that bikes and horses no longer qualified as vehicles. Consequently, anyone stopped on suspicion of being drunk while riding a bicycle will no longer face DUI charges.

While this updated law may have changed the answer to the age-old question, “Can you get a DUI on a bicycle in North Dakota?”, this dangerous behavior is not a penalty-free offense. Intoxicated bike riders may face a $200 fine for their actions.

Possible Legal Consequences for Drunk Bicyclists Other Than a DUI

You’ve probably heard public service announcements (PSAs) warning about how drinking alcohol impairs individuals. Police officers look for signs of impairment, such as the following, when patrolling area streets:

  • Tailgating
  • Failing to yield to others’ right of way, including running traffic signals and signs
  • Slurred speech
  • Weaving within lanes or venturing into other ones
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • The smell of alcohol on a rider’s person or breath
  • Delayed responses
  • Striking objects in one’s path

If a law enforcement officer notices you doing one of these, they may pull you over, suspecting that you’re intoxicated. If they request that you perform field sobriety testing and you fail, while we’ve outlined how the answer to the question, “Can you get a DUI on a bicycle?” is not in the same way as would occur with drivers, you would still face charges and penalties for your actions.

Our legal system imposes charges and penalties to discourage motorists from carrying out certain dangerous behaviors. Also, these consequences are in place to deter them from repeating similar acts in the future. In addition to criminal penalties, drunk cyclists may face civil liability in a bicycle accident lawsuit if they harmed another party with their negligent actions.

Putting Up a Strong Defense in a DUI Bicycle Case in ND With Sand Law

Whether you took your bike for a spin on the assumption that riding it while inebriated was lawful or you searched to find out if you can get a DUI on a bike and took your chances anyway, you may now find yourself facing legal issues. Perhaps they’re worse than they could have been because you assaulted someone, struck and injured a pedestrian, or committed some other criminal offense.

Even if you understand the new law change as limiting the possibility that you can get a DUI on a bicycle, you may be facing penalties and other charge related charges. A Sand Law DUI/DWI defense attorney can advise you of the rights North Dakota law affords you. We have considerable legal expertise in this area.

Our team is widely recognized for our results and highly recommended for our services. An initial consultation to discuss your charges and your legal options is completely free. Contact us at Sand Law PLLC by phone at (701) 394-4744 or use our contact form.

Frequently Asked Questions

Were there attempts to decriminalize biking while drunk before HB 1506 finally became law last year?

A review of legislative efforts reveals at least one previous failed attempt to pass similar legislation. This attempt to pass a bill excluding bikes and horses as vehicles per North Dakota DUI laws occurred in 2019.

Are there any additional penalties for drunk bike riding other than a fine?

Any such traffic infraction goes on your permanent record, as will the payment of any fine assessed. However, the assessment of demerit points off your license is unlikely to occur. This is because a license isn’t necessary to operate a bike and the bicycle isn’t viewed as a vehicle.

Can’t I just treat my bike DUI offense like any other traffic ticket instead of hiring a lawyer to represent me?

There’s no requirement that you hire a DUI defense attorney to represent you after a drunk bicycling accident. However, if the charge and your case’s outcome are a concern, especially since others may be able to access this information, a lawyer can potentially shield you from implications this could have on your life. Plus, if you’re facing any additional charges, having legal representation is imperative.