Horse and Bicycle DUI Bill

Rounds Signs Horse, Bicycle DUI Bill Into Law

Starting July first, South Dakota bar owners may want to install
hitching posts and bike racks out front. That’s when a new law takes
effect that insulates bike and horse riders from being arrested for
drunken driving.

Governor Rounds signed the legislation. The measure removes bikes,
trikes and horses from drunken driving statutes.

Legislators offered the bill as part of an effort to update the state
criminal code. Horses, bikes may be DUI-freeBill that doesn’t punish
drinkers for not driving under consideration.

By Jenny Michael – Associated Press Writer

Intoxicated South Dakotans should be able to ride horses or bikes home
from bars without fear of being arrested for drunken driving, legislators
decided Wednesday.

The House Transportation Committee voted 10-1 for a bill to exempt
horses and bikes from the statutory definition of vehicles, sending
HB1190 to the House floor.

Rep. Tom Hennies, R-Rapid City, said people who have been drinking and
choose not to drive cars or trucks should not be punished for using
alternate transportation.

“We should not push people to stop driving when they’ve been drinking,
and at the same time penalize them if they get on a bicycle when they’re
drunk,” the former police chief said.

Hennies told of a Pennington County man who was arrested several times
for drunken driving, including a fourth arrest while pedaling a bicycle
home one night. The man could have been sent to prison if he had been
convicted, Hennies said.

“I don’t know anybody that had that intent when we’re talking about
drunk drivers,” he said. A Pierre man was arrested several times in
recent years for being drunk on his horse. At one trial, the man said he
was upset for getting stopped because he had not been drinking and
smelled of alcohol only because he had put liniment on his horse, adding
that he wasn’t a danger because his horse “knew the way home.” He was
found innocent that time.

Hennies acknowledged that drunks on bikes and horses can cause
problems, but he said it would be better to charge them with disorderly
conduct than drunken driving.

The bill would affect more than just drunken driving, Hennies said. He
said people on horses and bikes would technically be excluded from other
state traffic regulations, such as obeying stop signs, although most city
ordinances would still require it.

“You won’t have to buy a license plate for your horse, either,”
Hennies added.

Rep. Gordon Peterson, R-Wall, wondered if the bill signified the
official end of the horse and buggy era in South Dakota.

“Cowboys that get drunk on Saturday nights and ride home in small
towns won’t like this too much,” he said. “They won’t have their fun with
their cops.”


DUI Attorneys |