Recently, the state of Pennsylvania clarified its position on the way bicyclists
are treated when they stopped for suspected intoxication. Anyone who rides
the two-wheeled conveyance can be charged with a DUI, and they can also
suffer the same consequences as an operator of an automobile. One man
recently discovered this for himself.
The 50-year-old man was stopped two years ago after he was allegedly seen
riding ignoring a red traffic signal as he rode through an intersection.
When an officer approached the man, he claimed that the man was not speaking
clearly and that his bicycle lacked some required safety features. The
policeman further claimed that the man had an odor of alcohol about his
person and that he was unable to walk without stumbling.
The officer requested that the man submit to field sobriety tests and a
blood test, but he apparently refused. He is also reported to have remarked
that he could not be arrested for riding a bicycle while under the influence
of alcohol. Under the state's transportation laws, however, the man
could not only be arrested for operating a bicycle under the influence,
but he could also have his driver's license suspended for the offense
of not submitting to inebriation testing.
The state of Pennsylvania revised its DUI and implied consent laws several
years ago to remove the word "motor" in order to ensure that
anyone who was attempting to operate any type of vehicle while under the
influence must agree to testing or have their license suspended. This
man has since had the DUI charged dropped when he entered a plea to a
lesser charge, although he lost his bid to have his license reinstated.
For others in Pennsylvania who may be facing similar charges, they are
entitled to seek information concerning their rights in these situations
and to gather resources to allow them to put forth a vigorous defense
against any charges or punishments they could be facing.
Source: pennlive.com, "Bicyclists must submit to blood tests in DUI stops or lose their driver's
licenses, Pa. court rules", Matt Miller, May 28, 2014