Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

Yes, you can get a DWI on an electric bike

A bicyclist on an electric bike ran into a pickup truck recently.

Riding an electric bike while drunk can get you a DWI.

Case in point: This crash (thankfully with no serious injuries) from west-central Minnesota late last month, when a man on an electric bike ran into a pickup with a plow blade.

It was just before 7 a.m. in New London (that's a bit north of Willmar), on Jan. 24.

The pickup had stopped at a stop sign, then made a left turn to head west. The bike, coming from the east, didn't stop and hit the pickup's snowplow blade, the State Patrol's incident report says.

The State Patrol just wrote about it Monday on Facebook.

The biker then zipped away. But he was arrested a short time later and arrested for DWI, the State Patrol said on Facebook Monday.

The 24-year-old biker was not wearing a helmet, the report says, and he was taken to the hospital for injuries that weren't life-threatening. The pickup driver wasn't hurt.

"File this in the 'ouch, that will leave a mark' files," the State Patrol wrote.

About those DWI laws

As mentioned above, the biker in this case was arrested for DWI. And Minnesota has some interesting DWI laws with bicycles.

State law says driving while impaired is a crime for someone in control of a "motor vehicle." And a "motor vehicle," according to this state law, is defined as one that is "self-propelled" or "propelled by electric power obtained from overhead trolley wires."

The definition "does not include a vehicle moved solely by human power," the law says.

So we apply it to this case.

A regular ol' bike – strictly human-powered, there's no other propulsion system, which means it doesn't qualify as a "motor vehicle" under DWI law.

An electric bike however? Well, that's self-propelled (though not more than 20 mph), meaning it doesn't appear to fall under the DWI law.

MnDOT has specified that all bike laws still apply to electric-assisted bicycles.

The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, though, points out you could still get dinged for other violations on a regular bike, like reckless endangerment.

Also, it's a bad idea to bike drunk, so don't do it.

Next Up

Gopher Basketball

Michigan State hands Gophers first loss

The 19th ranked Spartans knocked Minnesota from the ranks of the unbeaten.

Karl-Anthony Towns, Chris Finch

Patrick Beverley returns but Jazz rout Timberwolves

The Jazz avenged last season's 0-3 record with a blowout victory.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings-Steelers: 5 things you can count on

After an embarrassing loss to the Lions, can the Vikings get it together?

snow, snowing

Winter storm watch expands north, includes parts of Twin Cities

Everyone in southern Minnesota will want to keep an eye on forecast changes.

Screen Shot 2020-08-14 at 6.45.53 PM

5-year-old boy fatally shot on Thanksgiving identified

Police said a few juveniles at the home were making a social media video when the gun went off.

PAMP travail 1

Pig Ate My Pizza will close at the end of the year.

Its leaders plan to relaunch and "get back to the humble beginnings of Travail."

flickr - criticla care nurses nov 2021

Allina parts ways with 53 of 27,000 employees over vaccine mandate

That's about 0.2% of the health care system's workforce.

US Bank Stadium, Vikings fans

Matthew Coller: How will Vikings fans react on Thursday night?

Will years of disappointment be revealed if the Vikings struggle against the Steelers?

dinner party holidays gathering celebration 1

Health officials encourage getting vaccinated and tested before the holidays

The state has launched a "Celebrate Safely, Minnesota" campaign to make it easier to get tested and vaccinated.

Kjellberg booking photo crop

Charges: Parking dispute, scuffle preceded fatal stabbing

The suspect said he was upset about neighbors and their friends regularly parking on his property.

Dave Hutchinson

Hennepin Co. Sheriff injured in rollover, admits to drinking beforehand

The sheriff, in a statement, called it an "inexcusable decision."

CDC - vaccine band aid

COVID cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in MN dominated by unvaccinated

The latest figures from October show a disproportionate number of deaths among the unvaccinated.

Related

Bike to work on Friday – you might even get a free breakfast

Some Minnesotans will be celebrating National Bike to Work Day.

Bike to work on Friday – you might even get a free breakfast

Some Minnesotans will be celebrating National Bike to Work Day.

This new guide instructs MN cyclists how to bike properly, safely on state roads

The guide covers biking etiquette, laws and tips for a safer ride.

This new guide instructs MN cyclists how to bike properly, safely on state roads

The guide covers biking etiquette, laws and tips for a safer ride.

Ride your bike all the way to Canada on the new North Star Route

It would take the average cyclist more than 21 hours to bike the entire thing.

Ride your bike all the way to Canada on the new North Star Route

It would take the average cyclist more than 21 hours to bike the entire thing.