Police in Caledon, Ontario are reminding the public that “driving sober” also includes “riding sober.” Yes, you can even be charged with impaired operation for riding a bicycle that requires you to pedal.
Police charged the 44-year-old operator of this e-bike with Impaired Operation after he allegedly crashed it on Highway 50 in the Bolton area, reminding the public in the Tweet that “an e-bike is a ‘motor vehicle’ & anyone operating an e-bike intoxicated could be charged with #ImpairedDriving.”
According to the province’s Highway Safety Act, bicycles are indeed held to the same standards as any other vehicles, meaning riders must obey all traffic laws, and have all the same rights and responsibilities as other drivers. Just like you’ve got the right to take the full lane and make a left turn in the middle of city traffic while on a bike, you’re also legally bound to stop at stop signs, signal when you turn, and do all the other things you’d do while safely driving an SUV or car.
Obviously, this includes not sucking back five pints and weaving your way home. Sure, a bicycle is less likely to seriously damage another vehicle or pedestrian, but you can still hurt others and yourself — or wind up causing an accident between other vehicles.
Throw an electric motor on that sucker, making it heavier and faster, and you’ve got even more potential for damage.
So by all means, get out there and ride your bike this summer, folks. Pedal hard or don’t pedal at all. Cruise on the shoulder or take the full lane — you’ve got the right! Just make sure to treat your bike, electric or otherwise, and the roads it rides on with respect they deserve.