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Bikes Beware!

The recent case of VELASQUEZ vs. Superior Court, No. B253327, Court of Appeals of California, Second District, Division Three, filed July 17, 2014 is must reading for any bike rider.

The court stated:

"Velasquez, while intoxicated, rode his bicycle and struck Russell with such force that they both lost consciousness, Russell for 10 days. She also sustained broken facial bones and memory loss. Where, as here, it is alleged that a reckless, intoxicated driver of a bicycle inflicted one of the injuries listed in section 23105, section 21200 provides notice that the bicyclist could be subject to the same criminal penalties as a reckless driver of a motor vehicle."

The court upheld the FELONY prosecution against Velasquez for reckless driving causing injury even though another VC sec. seemed to exempt bikes from laws commonly applied to persons driving cars. 

The court noted that dui laws were amended, exempting bikes from the more onerous penalties applied to cars:

"In 1985, the Legislature made subdivision (b) of section 21200 into a separate statute, section 21200.5: "Notwithstanding Section 21200, it is unlawful for any person to ride a bicycle upon a highway while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage or any drug . . . ." A violation of the section is punishable by a $250 fine."

An offense punishable only by a fine is an infraction, as is the dui bike law in 21200.5.  However, as Mr. Velasquez now knows, most other VC laws that apply to cars, like reckless driving causing serious injury, apply to bikes as well.

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MICHAEL SHULTZ


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