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Biking instead of driving may seem like a good idea, but is it?

Your parents taught you well. They drilled into you that getting behind the wheel of a car after drinking not only puts the lives of everyone on the line, but it also puts your future in jeopardy. Perhaps you have no qualms about having a few drinks with friends at a place near the university, but you draw the line at driving a car or letting one of your friends -- who also had a few drinks -- drive you home.

Instead, you decide to take matters into your own hands and ride your bicycle to and from the establishment where you will have a few drinks. You may even be proud of yourself for making a responsible decision. Is it really a good decision? Maybe not.

Is there really such a thing as drunk biking?

Actually, yes. Not every state includes a bicycle in its definition of a "vehicle" in its DUI statutes, but Pennsylvania does. If a police officer sees you on your bike and it's weaving or you stumble a few times, he or she could stop you. The same testing done on drivers, breath tests and field sobriety tests, could be done on you. You could also find yourself under arrest for driving under the influence -- even on a bicycle.

It may seem ridiculous, but when you think about the fact that your judgment may still be impaired, you may not be able to react in time in an emergency and you could fall off your bike into traffic. You could hit a pedestrian with your bike or wander into traffic. Any of these eventualities could cause accidents with injuries to you and anyone else you may encounter.

For this reason, the law prohibits biking while drunk just as it does if you were in a motorized vehicle. It may only be a few short blocks from the university, but you may not get there without taking a detour through the local jail.

What do you face if charged with DUI on a bicycle?

You face the same penalties regardless of what type of vehicle you were in or on at the time. Even your arrest could affect your future. The university may also want to discuss the matter with you and may impose sanctions on you that could include a suspension or even expulsion depending on the circumstances. If you have a scholarship, a conviction could jeopardize that as well.

The best way to avoid this eventuality would be to call a cab or an Uber to get you home safely -- or not to drink in excess at all. However, if it's too late for you to make these choices, you may want to make your next step to find out what your rights are and to understand your legal options.

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