I Was Arrested in Gainesville, Florida for DUI While Riding My Bicycle – How Can That Be?
Bill Allen | March 16, 2021 | Bicycle Accident Injury Lawyer Near Gainesville Florida
Bicyclists must obey traffic laws when they are riding on Gainesville roads and streets. However, can a bicyclist be charged with driving under the influence? Is a bicycle considered a “vehicle” for the purposes of a DUI charge in Florida?
Let’s examine what a DUI is in more detail to determine if you can be arrested for DUI while riding a bicycle in Gainesville, Florida.
What is Considered Driving Under the Influence in Florida?
As in all other states, the legal limit for blood alcohol content (BAC) is .08 %.
DUI or driving under the influence is defined by law as:
- Being in actual physical control of or driving a vehicle when you are impaired by alcohol or drugs, OR
- Your BAC is .08 or higher
The criminal penalties for a DUI can be severe. You could serve jail time, be charged a fine, and lose your driver’s license. You could also face other penalties and consequences because of a DUI conviction.
How Can a Bicyclist Be Charged with DUI in Gainesville?
A bicycle is defined as a vehicle under Florida laws. Therefore, a bicyclist must obey all traffic laws, including DUI laws. A bicyclist who is riding under the influence can be charged with DUI.
The prosecutor must prove that the bicyclist was riding the bicycle with a BAC of .08 or higher. A breathalyzer, urine, or blood test can determine BAC level.
The other alternative is for the prosecutor to prove that your normal facilities were impaired by alcohol or drugs while driving the bicycle. A BAC can help prove you were alcohol-impaired. However, a police officer or eyewitnesses’ observations can also prove that you were alcohol-impaired while riding your bicycle.
Who is Responsible for a Bicycle Accident with a Drunk Bicyclist?
If you caused the bicycle accident because you were drunk, you are responsible for your injuries and damages. You could also be responsible for the injuries and damages sustained by other people involved in the DUI accident.
If a driver caused the bicycle accident, the driver could be liable for your damages if you were injured. However, if you were drunk at the time of the accident, your compensation for damages could be reduced substantially.
Under Florida’s pure comparative fault law, if an accident victim is partially at fault for the cause of the accident, the compensation the person receives is reduced by the percentage of fault the person holds for causing the crash.
At trial, a jury might find that you were 50 percent at fault for the cause of the bicycle accident because you were drunk. If the total of your accident claim was $200,000, the most you could receive for your injuries and damages would be $100,000. The compensation is reduced by your percentage of fault (50 percent).
It is never safe to ride a bicycle after consuming alcohol. You have a higher risk of being involved in an accident, even if you did not cause the crash. Your reaction time could be slower, and you may not be able to avoid a collision caused by another driver.
Damages Included in a Bicycle Accident Claim
Bicycle accidents can cause traumatic injuries for the cyclist. Even with a bicycle helmet and protective gear, the rider can sustain multiple broken bones, spinal cord injuries, brain injuries, internal organ damage, and fatal injuries.
Assuming that you were not drunk and you did not cause the bicycle accident, you could recover full compensation for your damages.
Damages may include:
- Financial losses from lost wages, benefits, and medical bills
- Decreases in future earning capacity because of a permanent disability
- Pain and suffering damages, including the emotional, physical, and mental anguish and pain you experienced because of the crash
- Cost of personal care, help without household chores, and in-home health care
- Decreases in your quality of life and enjoyment of life
- Permanent disabilities and impairments
In Florida, you file your claim with your no-fault insurance provider first. You must see a doctor within 14 days to file your claim. Also, you need to seek prompt medical care to document your injuries. You can only sue the driver if your injuries meet the serious injury threshold for car accident cases in Florida.
Do Not Wait Too Long to File Your Claim
Bicycle accident claims are subject to the state’s statute of limitations. You must file your lawsuit before the claim time runs out or lose your right to file a lawsuit. You could be stuck with all of the costs and damages caused by an accident you did not cause.
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