Police pick up possibly pickled pedalers
Ryan Summerlin July 29, 2008
Opting for bicycle pedals rather than a gas pedal didn’t keep several revelers out of jail Sunday.
During separate incidents, California Highway Patrol officers arrested four people on suspicion of bicycling under the influence as part of a first-time program at the South Shore.
The potential for impaired bicyclists to injure themselves or collide with other cyclists or motorists can make biking under the influence similarly dangerous as driving drunk, said Officer Jeff Gartner, a California Highway Patrol spokesman.
“It’s not necessarily a safer thing to do, and that’s why it is against the law,” Gartner said.
Under California law, bicycling under the influence of drugs or alcohol carries a maximum fine of $250, in addition to applicable court fees.
People younger than 21 who are convicted of bicycling under the influence also can have their driver’s licenses suspended for a year.
With consistently high gas prices, CHP officers have seen an increase in the number of buzzed bicyclists, Gartner said.
Some of those arrested Sunday initially were stopped for violations unrelated to intoxication ” such as riding without a headlamp or bicycling on the wrong side of the road, Gartner said.
Sunday’s arrests were part of the CHP’s Rapid Apprehension of Impaired Drivers program at the South Shore.
During the one-day program, about 20 CHP officers from around the region came to the South Shore to patrol the Highway 50 corridor.
In addition to the four arrested for suspected biking under the influence, CHP officers arrested eight people during the program on suspicion of operating motor vehicles while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.