Apr 222008
Authors: Phil Elder

Riding a bike drunk is a very hard thing to do.

The same shortcomings of a drunk driver apply to a biker. It’s impossible to steer correctly; one’s speed is completely uncontrolled, and one will often see themselves heading toward a pole about five seconds after they’ve hit it.

For all of these reasons, I do not recommend the act.

However, there exists one more valid reason never to bike drunk in the city of Fort Collins. Cycling with a blood alcohol content ofmore then .08 carries the same punishment as drunk driving.

For those yet unfamiliar with the particulars of DUI law in Colorado, punishment for driving under the influence, for those of age, may include a year in jail, $1,000 in fines (not to mention several hundred more in court fees), 96 hours of public service, alcohol evaluation, alcohol classes and up to 86 hours of alcohol therapy.

A minor may tack on a Minor in Possession ticket, because apparently the body is a container.

A student may also tack on the possibility of being permanently removed from CSU.

This is all due to the dangers of drunk driving.

In 2007, almost 15,000 people were killed directly due to drunk driving accidents.

It is a reckless, misanthropic, pointless act that often leads to the death of an innocent civilian, leaving the argument of personal choice null and void. In my opinion, drunk drivers should be given mandatory holding time to sit and think about what an idiot they are.

But cycling? Could a person on a bike be a danger to society if they tried?

As previously stated, biking drunk is a very hard thing to do and given the right situation could potentially be hazardous to the rider, but the combined lack of weight and lack of speed makes a bike about as fatal to innocent bystanders as an empty Wendy’s bag thrown out of a window.

One can see a bike coming. They move at about 15 miles per hour, (10 if you’re drunk) and given the situation, they will most likely be swerving. In the 100 yards between visible contact and the point of collision, either the cyclist or the pedestrian will move.

If, by some freak chance, neither party sees the other coming, it’s still hard to induce a crash.

One finds it difficult to stay on the right half of the street while biking drunk, let alone pinpointing a one-foot target on a 25-foot paved track.

In reality, the only person in any danger in a drunken cycling scenario is the cyclist.

One could fall off the bike, hit a curb, hit a car (moving or parked) or even hit the wall of a building if they’ve really let themselves go.

Given the personal nature of the risk of the act, it should be no less legal than skydiving, smoking cigarettes or taking a martial art.

However, if the only implication of CUI laws were limiting the number of drunken bicyclists, I would take no issue with the matter.

Logical speculation (since concrete data on the subject is an impossibility) would lead one to the conclusion that a law against cycling drunk leads to more DUIs.

This is to say, given the choice between biking and driving home, since punishment is the same, one would more frequently choose to drive. It’s quicker, easier and climate controlled.

If cycling under the influence of alcohol were considered legally equal to walking under the influence of alcohol (whereby one is only in legal trouble if one is disturbing the peace or blocking traffic), it would encourage hundreds of nightly drunk drivers to ride their bikes to the bars and back.

Though hundreds of wasted cyclists paints a slightly intimidating (and very hilarious) picture, it is my opinion that it is severely less terrifying than a town full of drunk drivers.

Phil Elder is a senior political science major. His column appears Wednesdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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