Drinking…and Riding? Preventing D.C. Biking Accidents by Taking a Cue from Motorists

By now, it is fairly common knowledge that drinking and driving is an enormous risk (besides the complication of being enormously illegal, as well). In a city as large as Washington, D.C., most of us are fortunate enough to be able to take advantage of the public transportation system, as well as taxi cabs, to get us back and forth from bars and parties.

Even if we, as drivers, are sober, many of us still take precautions while driving to avoid other drunk drivers. There are many nights per year—New Year’s Eve, for one—that most people avoid driving, to avoid encountering an intoxicated driver.

As a bicyclist, you can also take the same preventative measures to prevent a Washington, D.C. bicycle accident. In addition to being aware of when drunk drivers are most likely to hit the streets, you can also make sure that when your wheels hit the pavement, you are sober. Many accidents involving bicyclists have later revealed that the biker had alcohol in their system.

In 2010, there was a landmark case in Washington, D.C. in which a bicyclist was charged with a DUI after he nearly hit a child while riding his bike intoxicated. Media outlets across the country leapt on the story, arguing that the ruling judge’s interpretation of a “vehicle” was faulty. The case was appealed successfully, but it remains an important decision that demonstrates D.C.’s standards for cyclists on public roads.

During the summer season as parties and barbecues hit full swing, the Bethesda bicycle accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins encourage you to make the smart decision to avoid taking the wheel, either in your car or on a bike—name a designated driver before the party starts, and rely on that person or public transportation to get home (and avoid a costly potential accident at the same time).