Better Call Glew: Cycling Under the Influence. Really?

Hi Mr. Glew:

I was riding my bicycle in an alley on the Balboa Peninsula this Tuesday when a cop ticketed me for biking under the influence.  What does this mean and what will happen to me and my driver's license?  

Where to begin?

Vehicle Code section 21200.5, Cycling Under the Influence (CUI), is the governing statute, and states in part that, "it is unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug, or under the combined influence of an alcoholic beverage and any drug."

Unlike a DUI, where a driver is legally impaired when his or her blood alcohol concentration is 0.08% or higher, there is no per se limit for cycling under the influence. Vehicle Code section 21200.5 is a non-jailable misdemeanor, punishable by a fine of not more than $250. If you are over 21, you will not be subject to a license suspension or any points on your driving record. 

However, if you are under 21, you will lose your license for one year, upon conviction.      Given that you were cited in an alley, you may not have technically been riding upon a "highway," as driveways and sidewalks are not considered highways. A more thorough analysis is probably in order, and I would suggest you consult with an experienced DUI/CUI attorney. 

Send all questions to And remember, Better Call Glew!

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