I Was Arrested in St. Petersburg, Florida for DUI While Riding My Bicycle — How Can That Be?

St. Petersburg is a beautiful area: perfect for biking, whether for exercise, a commute, or a better way to avoid driving after a night of drinking. 

Many people think that biking home instead of driving after drinking is a safer way to get home and avoid a DUI charge. But what many people may not realize is that if they’re biking under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can still be charged with DUI. 

And if they’re in an accident, they may be liable for any property damage or injuries sustained by another party.

Statistics About Bicycle Accidents

Although biking is an environmentally friendly and safer option most of the time, it’s still risky. There are an average of 800 bicycle accidents per year, and out of those, 37% of fatal bicycle accidents involve alcohol. 

If a bicyclist is under the influence of alcohol and is involved in a fatal accident, they can be liable for another person’s death – and may even face a criminal charge of manslaughter.

Bicycle Laws in Florida

Florida bicycle laws provide the same rights and duties as any other driver. However, it’s important to note that scooters and similar vehicles are not classified as bicycles. 

Everyone who operates a bicycle must adhere to the same rules of the road as other drivers. This includes following safety protocols, obeying posted traffic signage, and not operating the bike while intoxicated.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is measured by the concentration of alcohol in the person’s bloodstream and their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). In Florida, as in any other state, the legal limit for BAC is .08%. For most people, that’s about two drinks. 

However, BAC can be hard to estimate, as larger people and men may be able to consume more drinks than a smaller female without having a BAC over the limit.

Cyclists in Florida are subject to the same legal limit of alcohol consumption as drivers of any other vehicle. If an officer thinks that you’re over the legal limit, you’re riding recklessly, or you get in an accident, you’ll be subject to taking a field sobriety or breath test to determine your BAC.

What Are the Penalties of Bicycling Under the Influence in Florida?

DUI bike penalties are similar to penalties for a DUI or DWI in a car or truck. If you don’t have a prior record of operating a vehicle under the influence, the penalty is a fine between $500 to $1,000 and up to six months in jail. 

Subsequent DUI charges lead to longer time in jail and higher fines. You may also be required to have a psychological evaluation and report to a probation officer. 

Third and fourth bicycle DUI offenses are considered felonies, and you’ll serve time in prison and lose certain civil rights after your release, such as owning a gun or voting. Additionally, you’ll have to disclose your felony conviction on housing and job applications.

A DUI conviction can also affect your ability to collect insurance if you were in a bike accident. Even if your accident didn’t involve a fatal injury, you may still have sustained injuries, hurt someone else, or caused property damage. You can be liable for any damages you caused while operating a bike under the influence. 

If you hurt yourself, you may not be able to file an insurance claim with your own insurance if you had a DUI charge. Although a lawyer can help you, both with the DUI charges and in a civil suit, it’s always better to find another way home instead of driving yourself if you’ve been drinking. 

Contact the Pinellas County Personal Injury Law Firm Of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers for Help

For more information, please contact the Clearwater and St. Petersburg personal injury law firm of Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers at the nearest location to schedule a free consultation today.

We serve in Pinellas County, and its surrounding areas:

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater
1875 N Belcher Rd. STE 201,
Clearwater, FL 33765,
United States
727-796-8282

Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg
2560 1st Ave S,
St. Petersburg, FL 33712,
United States
727-344-4242