People shouldn’t be banned from riding a bike if caught drunk. That would force people to drive more which would be both more dangerous if they continue to drink and worse for the environment. Rather than banning, which would be difficult to enforce, I think the person should be fined or put to work in community service, but only if they were seriously intoxicated. Riding a bike while drunk can be dangerous to not only yourself but to others that you may come across, so it does need to be discouraged, but it is better than driving and it is the individual’s choice to ride a bike and potentially fall over – some one walking around drunk can potentially cause accidents as well, so it should just be treated along the same levels of public intoxication, in my opinion at least.
A lot of cities – especially in California – have been cracking down on bike laws in the past few years. I recall an occasion in which a friend was bicycling the wrong way on a one-way street in Los Angeles (the street was very inconvenient for bicycle traffic, and cyclists commonly violated that law in this particular area, due to a barricade in the middle of the street) and was issued a high-priced ticket. This was very discouraging; the feeling was, indeed, that the higher powers in traffic policy enforcement seem to be promoting automobile use and targeting bicyclists. (needless to say, my friend opted for a community service option) I would agree that the laws around bicycle traffic violations are unnecessarily harsh, and that drunken biking is at the biker’s own risk, and should be treated on the same level as public intoxication. Coming from the bicycling mecca of Portland Oregon, my opinion, in general, is that the best way for the bicycle movement to gain respect is for us to play by the rules, to bike conscientiously and not self-righteously, to respect drivers and try not to view it as an us-verse-them struggle. Share the road. When all is said and done, our goal is a common one; to get to our destination safely and efficiently, and, when possible, enjoy the journey.
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