Can You Get A DUI On A Bicycle?

You must agree that it’s dreadful getting pulled aside by the traffic marshals on suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI). While this is common for motorists, it’s not for cyclists. But can you get a DUI on a bicycle?

Yes, you can get a DUI on a bicycle in some states in the United States and beyond. These states include Florida, Texas, Indiana, Colorado, Hawaii, and Connecticut, among others I’ll share later. And outside the US, you can be charged for Biking under the influence (BUI) in the UK and Australia.

Note, however, that even though most states in the United States don’t have BUI laws, you could be liable for public intoxication just like anyone else who drinks and becomes disorderly in public or endangers lives.

In that case, the absence of BUI laws doesn’t get you off the hook. You just have to stay away from the bike after a few bottles.   

In other states and a place like Canada, you are only exempted from DUI for riding regular bikes (non-motorized options) but not motorized. So, e-bikes and scooters fall in the motor vehicles class, which means the same DUI laws apply.      

Let’s get deeper to help you understand BUI better.

can you get a DUI on a bike

Can You Get A DUI On a Bicycle in the United States?

As mentioned, not all states in the United States have BUI laws. So, while you can get a DUI on a bicycle in some, you may not get it in others. Let’s discuss them.

What States Can’t You Get a DUI in the United States?

The majority of states in the US are yet to enforce BUI laws, and they include:

  • Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Michigan, Montana, Missouri Nevada, Nebraska, New Mexico, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Vermont, West Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin

Note, however, that even though the above states don’t have BUI laws, you could be charged with public intoxication, which can be costly.

What is Public Intoxication?

Public Intoxication is the offense of getting intoxicated and causing a public disturbance. So, for you to be liable for a public intoxication offense, the following factors have to be considered by the prosecution:

  • Your alcohol blood concentration (BAC) must be more than 0.08%
  • You must be in a public place
  • You are acting in a manner that disturbs the public or endangers their lives or yours

According to, anyone with a BAC level of 0.08%+ is mentally and physically incapable of operating a motor vehicle, and most states consider bicycles as motorized vehicles.

So, genuinely, getting intoxicated in public is not the issue. The issue is your conduct and the fact that you are cycling.


Most states consider Public Intoxication a misdemeanor, more so if it’s a first-time offense. In that case, you are likely to pay the penalty not exceeding $500 or face a maximum jail term of 6 months.

What States Can You Get A DUI On a Bicycle?

Overall, only a few states in the United States have BUI laws. They include:

  • Alabama, Connecticut, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia, Florida, Idaho, Hawaii, Indiana, Maryland, New Hampshire, Mississippi, North Dakota, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Wyoming, and Utah


Penalties for BUI differ between the above states. In California, for example, first-time BUI offenses attract a fine not exceeding $250. You could also lose your license for a year, which can be devastating.

In Florida, nonetheless, you may pay up to $1000 and still have your license revoked for a year.

Let’s discuss a few states in the US and BUI laws.

is it illegal to ride a bike while drunk

Can You Get an OWI On a Bike in Iowa?

Iowa doesn’t have BUI laws. So, you won’t face OWI (operating under the influence) charges for cycling intoxicated. You may, however, face charges for public disorder or public intoxication. It all depends on how you behave on the road. 

Can You Get A DUI On a Bike in Virginia?

The state of Virginia doesn’t consider bicycles motorized vehicles. As a result, you cannot get a DUI riding a bike on the streets. However, you can be liable for reckless biking if you happen to hit someone, damage property, lose control, or fail to give the correct signal.

Can You Get A DUI On a Bike in NY?

New York’s DUI laws apply to motorized vehicles. And since electric bikes are motorized, you can get a DUI on them.

No one will take you to court for biking under the influence when riding a regular non-motorized bike. However, you may face public intoxication charges if you are disorderly on the road or just reckless.

Can You Get A DUI On a Bicycle in Florida?

The Florida courts classify bicycles as vehicles, so you face the exact charges like DUI. In that case, as long as your BAC level is more than 0.08%, you may not only be liable for public intoxication but also BUI.

Penalties include fines (up to $1000), jail term (6 months maximum), or license revocation (up to 1 year).

Can You Get A DUI On a Bike in Minnesota?

DUI laws are only applicable to motorized vehicles in Minnesota. So, while you cannot get a DIU on a regular bicycle, you can get it on an e-bike as it’s motorized. Penalties for e-bike DUI include fines (up to $1000) and jail terms (up to 90 days).

Can You Get A DUI On a Bike in California?

According to the California Vehicle Code VC Section 21200, it’s illegal to ride a bike on a highway or any other busy road under the influence of alcohol. If found guilty of the offense, you may pay a fine not exceeding $250 and will have a misdemeanor on your record.

And if you are under 21 years and have a license, you could have your driver’s license suspended (for a year or so) or delayed for the same period if you are still yet to receive one.

The advantage is that you can request a BAC chemical urine, blood, or breathalyzer test when arrested to prepare your defense. The law, however, doesn’t prescribe punishment for e-bikes. It only mentions human-powered bikes.

Can You Get A DUI On a Bike in California

Can You Get A DUI On a Bicycle in Arizona?

You cannot get a DUI charge riding a regular bike in Arizona. You can only get it while riding a motorized option, where you may face reckless driving charges.

Note, however, that even though you may not get a DUI on a regular bicycle, the police could charge you for public disorderly or public intoxication. But first, you’ll have to go through the breathalyzer test and fail it.

Possible penalties include license revocation, community service, and fines.

Can You Get A DUI On a Bicycle in Texas?

While there are no BUI laws in Texas, the prosecution will likely refer to the Texas DUI statutes to prove your guilt. And since the Texas Penal Code is very clear on intoxication, you may face prosecution and sentencing.

One thing is for sure; the state of Texas doesn’t consider bicycles motor vehicles. The prosecution, however, can find a loophole in the DWI statutes to bring you before the stands depending on your behavior on public roads.

Penalties include fines (up to $500-$2,00) and a maximum jail term of 180 days.

Can You Get A DUI On a Bicycle in Michigan?

The State of Michigan doesn’t have BUI laws for regular bicycles. However, its DUI laws can apply to motorized options even though the law doesn’t specify e-bikes or scooters. So, technically, you could face criminal charges for riding an e-bike drunk.

A first-time offense will see you pay a fine not exceeding $100 and possibly attend a compulsory substance abuse class or give a few hours to community service.

Can You Get A DUI On a Bike in Indiana?

Indiana treats BUI the same way as DUI. So, once you are arrested for biking under the influence, you’ll face the exact charges of someone driving under the influence.

Possible penalties include a maximum jail term of 60 days or one year if the BAC% is over 0.15%, a 180-day license suspension, or a $500 fine.

Can You Get A DUI On a Bike in Indiana

Is It Illegal to Ride a Bike While Drunk Outside the United States?

Let’s answer this question by looking at these three countries; the UK, Australia, and Canada.

The United Kingdom

The UK BUI laws are a bit stricter than those of the US. According to the 1998 UK Road Traffic Act, you shouldn’t ride a bicycle on public roads if intoxicated.

The same goes for the Highway Code. Rule 68 of the code forbids cycling under the influence. Such an offense could cost you up to $1000 in fines or $2,500 for dangerous cycling.


BUI laws always differ from state to state in Australia. One thing is clear, however; biking under the influence is punishable.

For example, in South Australia, the offense attracts a fine of up to AU$500. However, the fee is heftier in Queensland as you may pay up to AU$4,400 or face a 9-month jail term.

You could pay up to $AU2,200 or face a 9-month jail term in New South Wales for BUI, while you may pay up t Au$1,400 in Victoria for the same offense.


You can only get a DUI on a bike in Canada if it’s power-assisted. So, if it’s not an electric bike or scooter, you will not face a DUI charge.

However, you could be liable for alcohol-related public misconduct. That includes not wearing a helmet, failing to give signals, and going beyond the speed limit.

In Summary:

Can you get a DUI on a bicycle? As seen, not all states and countries have laws on biking under the influence. What’s clear, however, is that the absence of BUI laws doesn’t give you the right to break existing state laws.

You could be liable for public intoxication anywhere and pay a considerable sum. So, the best take is to keep off your bike when not sober. That’ll keep you alive and out of court!

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