Can You Get a DUI Riding a Bike in Canada

Can You Get a DUI Riding a Bike in Canada

Driving under the influence (DUI) in cars is prevalent in Canada. A report from 2019 shows that around 86,964 DUI charges were issued in Canada.

Now, a common question may arise—can you get a DUI riding a bike in Canada? What if you want to ride your bicycle home after having a couple of drinks with friends or at work? In this article, we will talk about these topics in detail.

But first, let’s know what DUI is.

What is Meant by DUI?

DUI is short for Driving Under the Influence; according to the Criminal Code of Canada, driving while intoxicated (DUI) is illegal. Anyone found driving with a blood alcohol content of.08 or above will be guilty of a DUI. The limit for THC per milliliter of blood is two nanograms.

So, Can You Get a DUI Riding a Bike in Canada?

The answer is No. If you are intoxicated and riding a regular bicycle, you cannot be charged with a DUI offence.

The Highway Traffic Act in Canada rigorously regulates driving while intoxicated, but there are no similar types of rules and regulations for bicycling. Instead, it has only referred to powered vehicles, whereas a regular cycle doesn’t have any motor.

Hence, if you are using a motorized bike, an electronic bicycle, a scooter, or a bicycle with a power-assisted engine, you are breaking the law and have a higher chance of getting charged with DUI.

Although driving a bike while intoxicated is treated equally to driving a car in several countries, Canada treats a bicycle differently. However, In the case of a power-assisted or motorized bike, drunk drivers may be penalized with fines, lose their driving license, or even worst, go to jail based on their conditions.

Let’s get more details here…

Not Every Bicycle is the Same!

It can still be pretty challenging to distinguish between a motor-driven bike and a conventional moped, scooter, or motorbike. From regular bicycles to small electric motors—a wide range of bicycles are available nowadays. All credit goes to the advancements in cycling technology, which have made this possible by working hard day and night.

According to the Motor Vehicle Act in Canada, there is a separate and clear law for every other kind of bicycle, from an ordinary bike to a motor-driven bike and a motor vehicle. And thus, all the users of the road must strictly abide by the laws. Otherwise, they have to be ready to face punishment for impaired driving by the law.

On the other hand, the Criminal Code only provides a comprehensive definition of a motor vehicle that may or may not even cover bicycles with electric motors. That is, there is no definition for a motor-driven bike under that code.

Hence, someone who uses an electric-assisted bicycle while intoxicated is highly likely to face criminal charges by law.

Why Should You Never Cycle While Intoxicated, Even If You Will Not Be Charged with DUI?

Although riding a bike under the influence of drugs may not put you at risk for a DUI. This is still a hazardous activity to do. From having trouble coordinating to perceiving things, reaction time, and taking any sound judgment—everything gets impacted by alcohol.

After all, while being in an intoxicated state, people don’t remain in their good senses. As a result, getting involved in an accident is very high in these conditions. Besides, compared to others, bikers have very little physical protection in the event of a fall or collision, ultimately increasing the potential harm from a bike accident.

Such as, a moving vehicle can exert hundreds of pounds of force against a bicycle, significantly increasing the danger of severe damage for a biker. No wonder when we hear the news of a bicycle accident with a moving car, in most cases, the biker is the one who faces severe injury or, in a worst-case scenario, death.

Therefore, even though it may not be strictly illegal, it is highly advised that anyone intoxicated must avoid driving a bicycle or any form of  “conveyance” that calls for any level of coordination.

Some Tips for Cycling Safety

Bicyclists can ride safely in several ways without receiving a ticket. You just need to follow some tips and precautions as follows:

  • Always wear a bike helmet which complies with CSA, ANSI, ASTM, or SNELL B-95 safety requirements. To ensure the helmet keeps you safe, keep an eye on its status as it ages.
  • Make sure your bicycle has reflectors so that people can see you.
  • Dress in a way that is visible and will make you stand out.
  • When driving, always abide by the traffic laws set by the authority.
  • Whenever there are bike lanes, use them.
  • Before turning, use hand signals and shoulder checks because automobiles don’t always give bikes the right of way.
  • To prevent running over or being struck by an open door, keep a distance of one metre between you and any parked vehicles.

To Conclude

Driving while intoxicated is extremely hazardous, regardless of the vehicle. So, if you have a couple of drinks, the smartest call is to treat a bicycle like you would do for any other kind of vehicle. Call for a uber, take any public transportation, like a taxi/bus, or you can simply walk back home.

But, under any circumstances, you should never ride on your own, despite how normal you feel. Along with your safety, it is for the safety of the public.

In case you are facing any kind of DUI charges while intoxicated, make sure to take legal help. Only an experienced DUI lawyer can help you get out of the situation while ensuring the best outcome possible.

That’s all from the detailed discussion on “Can you get a DUI riding a bike in Canada?”


Have a look at the below queries in case you have any confusion in your mind to clarify:

Can I get a DUI in Canada while riding a bike?

Only people driving a motorized vehicle can be charged with driving while intoxicated. But, if a police officer finds you drunk, you can face several other penalties per provincial act.

What will make a police officer suspect you are intoxicated while riding a bike?

A police officer has the full power to pull over if they find you unstable riding your bike, weaving in and out of lanes, and not paying any sort of attention to your surroundings. As a result, the police officer can demand you take a sobriety test, such as a breathalyzer or coordination test, for confirmation.

What laws apply to electric bikes, scooters, and mopeds?

Regarding DUI driving, electric bikes, scooters, or mopeds have the same rules and regulations as applicable to cars. If you are found driving a scooter, moped, or e-bike while intoxicated, then be ready to be charged with impaired driving.

Can you lose your license for riding a bicycle while intoxicated?

No. In most cases, it is usually getting penalized with various fines. The police will most likely examine the cyclist. If they believe the person poses a risk to himself, others, or both, they might arrest them, issue a warning, or go for a penalty. However, every state tends to follow different rules and regulations, so it may vary based on your state’s ruling and conditions.



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