Is It Illegal to Ride a Bicycle Drunk?

Technically speaking, no, there are no official Washington state laws that explicitly prohibit a person from riding a bicycle while they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Because Washington state law does not consider bicycles to be “motor vehicles,” the specific laws regarding driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs do not apply to a person operating a bicycle.

That’s not to say that riding a bicycle under the influence of drugs or alcohol is OK, or that a bicyclist won’t be disciplined if they are too impaired to ride safely. Here’s a quote from Trooper Chris Webb of the Washington State Patrol (WSP) that explains this issue a bit further:

“Law enforcement does have the authority to take a bicyclist into ‘protective custody’ if they feel the subject is too intoxicated to travel. The impoundment of a bike is also permitted if the officer determines it is necessary to reduce the risk of threat to public safety and if no other reasonable alternative exists.”

RELATED: Check out this blog post for more about how Washington’s DUI laws apply to bicyclists.

Chris Davis
Top-rated, award-winning, attorney practicing wrongful death & serious injury law in Seattle.