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Virginia: Biking while intoxicated could become illegal

Drunk driving is a serious offense, but is it as serious if you're not behind the wheel of an automobile? In Virginia, the State Senator George Barker thinks so, which is why he's backing SB1223, a bill that could make it a crime to get behind the wheel of any electric personal assistive mobility device and to drive on the highway while intoxicated.

The question this draws is how much this was a problem in the past. On the whole, vehicles this bill targets, like Segways and electric-powered bicycles, already aren't allowed to be on highways or interstates, because they don't move fast enough.

What's interesting about the bill is that it was actually one produced by a team of high school seniors. The students are encouraged to go to Richmond to testify on behalf of the legislation they produce. In some cases, the bills pass. It's good practice for students, and it helps them understand how bills become laws. The problem comes when the bills pass and aren't necessary, like most would argue about this bill.

The students who drafted the bill said their main concern was bicyclists who could cause accidents or get hurt while intoxicated. The students suggested that even if it was only the cyclist who could get hurt, it was still important to limit their ability to ride when drunk. The truth is that drunk cyclists aren't much of a problem, and they aren't a public menace.

If you're riding a bike, you may not yet be breaking the law if you're intoxicated. It's still possible to be accused of public intoxication and other charges.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Virginia doesn't need a law against drunk bicycling, but it might get one," Kerry Dougherty, accessed Nov. 03, 2017

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