Should you bike if you've been drinking?
It may seem safer to pedal home from the bar, but tipsy bikers are still putting their lives at risk
Though Toronto woman Misty Bailey tried to stop boyfriend Darcy Allan Sheppard from riding his bike after drinking before he died in a crash involving former Ontario attorney-general Michael Bryant this week, many don't consider trying to stop an inebriated friend from biking home.
The logic for being drunk behind handle bars versus drunk behind a steering wheel tends to be quite different, says Charles Akben-Marchand, past president of Citizens for Safe Cycling in Ottawa.
“There are a lot of people out there who think impaired driving only applies to cars,” he says “I've heard people say ‘Oh wait I can drink tonight because I'm riding a bike.' ”
For one thing, you can't be charged with impaired driving if you're intoxicated while riding a bicycle since a bike is not classified as a vehicle under that law, says Sergeant Tim Burrows of the Toronto Police Traffic Services unit. But a drunk cyclist could be charged under the Ontario Highway Traffic Act (which is similar in most provinces) for careless driving, at a fine of $110. And there's always the public intoxication charge which could land you in the drunk tank or cost you at least a $50 fine.