Have you ever wondered if you can get a DWI on a bike? You’re not alone! Many people have asked and are wondering if that is possible. The short answer: NO! A bike is not considered a motor vehicle but that doesn’t mean that you can’t find yourself in legal trouble. Some people have been charged with a DWI on a bike and some jurisdictions will prosecute that but I don’t think it’ll hold up in court, it’s not a motor vehicle. It’s unlikely that you’re going to get charged with that.
However, if you’re driving around drunk on your bicycle, you got two other things to worry about:
- You’re gonna get in an accident. So don’t do it.
- Public intoxication. Maybe they don’t pop you for a DWI but if you’re a
danger to yourself or others, they can arrest you for public intoxication, which looks really really bad on your record and I don’t really know how much it costs to get bikes out of impound. Probably pretty expensive.
Under the law, bicycles are vehicles just like any other car or motorcycle for traffic purposes. Yes, that means you’ll have to stop at stoplights and stop signs, you gotta ride near the curb, you can’t ride more than two bicyclists in a lane side-by-side, and don’t ride more than two people on a one-person bike, it looks weird and it’s technically illegal. So a police officer can stop and cite you for that. Now, you also can’t get a DWI on a skateboard.
Because you’re a vehicle for traffic purposes…
If you don’t follow other laws, like signaling lane changes and turns, you can be cited as well so use your hand signals to signal those. The biggest piece of advice: Be Seen, Be Safe, right? Wear your reflective clothing, make sure that you put on that neon be seen because we all know that drivers aren’t
paying attention, they’re texting, they’re Facebooking, and they’re not looking for you. Being seen is being safe!
Lights! Camera? No, a Bike! Action!
Remember that you need to have lights on the front and back of your bike. The front needs to be awhite light, and the back is going to need a red light, like a brake light or a red reflector. As far as accidents go, know that if you’re in an accident and it’s not your fault, you can, to the fullest extent of the law, claim a personal injury claim and sue using a civil attorney. However, if the accident is deemed to be your fault, you have the same responsibilities as any other driver and you could be held liable for those people’s injuries or damage. So just know, be safe, do what you got to do.
In Texas, to buy a motorcycle or a scooter, you don’t need any particular type of license, you just need a valid government ID, however, to ride or drive them you’re going to have to have a specific license. Motorcyclists know that in Texas you have to have a motorcycle endorsement on your license and special motorcycle insurance to ride, that’s a given but what about scooters? Well, it just depends on what type you have. Texas law separates motorcycles from mopeds. If you’re on the moped list, there’s actually a list published or general rule is if your scooter has less than 50 CCs and can go 30 miles an hour or less, you’re probably a moped and only need a class C driver’s license to ride.
In general, every driver of a motorcycle, scooter, or moped needs to wear a helmet but of course, we’re in Texas so there’s an exception. If you’re 21 and over, you’ve taken a motorcycle safety course and you have at least $10,000 in medical coverage on insurance, you are exempt from wearing a helmet. The other thing that Texas law says is that officers can’t pull you over for no helmet alone, they need to have probable cause for
some other type of traffic-related offense, then they can inquire whether you have those things and give you a ticket for no helmet if you don’t but you’re not going to get pulled over simply because you don’t have a helmet on.
Hopefully you learned a little bit more about bikes, scooters, and motorcycles.