Bicycle Accident Lawyer researches law of B.U.I. in Kansas and Missouri

A lively discussion at a local watering hole, Ponaks (which nearly straddles the border between Kansas and Missouri), was initiated by an employee who said, “I heard of a guy who got know a DUI on a bicycle.” Several bystanders chimed in and I decided to take a closer look.

The law of Biking While Intoxicated (B.U.I.) differs from state to state.  As reported in this Blog recently, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas all take different approaches.

Kansas Statutes KSA 8-1567 enunciates Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In section (a) it states that, no person shall operate or attempt to operate any VEHICLE (emphasis added) under the influence. So what is a vehicle? KSA 8-1485 defines a vehicle as a device that transports person or property. Sounds like a bicycle, doesn’t it? Not so fast. The statute excepts electric personal mobility devices(scooter), or devices moved by human power, or if on rails. Some racers might not seem human but nevertheless, if human powered then its not a vehicle.

However, in City of Wichita v. Hackett, defendant cyclist Hackett was charged and convicted of riding a bicycle while intoxicated. An appeal was taken to the Kansas Supreme Court. In 2003, the Court upheld the conviction which was based on an ordinance of the City of Wichita, which made such conduct unlawful. States make traffic codes. Cities typically have their own which mirror state codes. Here, the City of Wichita had a traffic law which seemed to expand the state statute. The Supreme court said the city ordinance did not impermissible go beyond state standards, and affirmed the conviction.  So State law says one thing, local law another.

Back to the state line. Missouri Revised Statutes, RSMO 577.010 makes intoxication a crime when operating a MOTOR (emphasis added) vehicle. I see no application to bicycles since they are nonmotorized.

As a bicycle accident lawyer in Missouri and Kansas, I do not recommend or endorse any one biking while intoxicated, but it is interesting that there different legal landscapes in depending on where you are riding.   Particularly if your favorite pub straddles two different legal jurisdictions.


Greenville bicyclist and advocate Frank Mansbach, bicycle accident, bike crash, bicycle accident attorney, bicycle accident lawyer, South Carolina bicycle accident, South Carolina bicycle accident lawyer
Nov 25, 2015

A 2010 Bike Car Crash Turned Frank Mansbach into a Voice for Greenville Bicyclists Would you stop riding your bike if you were hit by a car? Not if you’re Frank Mansbach. Six years ago, a motorist struck Frank while he was on a morning bike ride. That crash transformed Frank into a powerful advocate […]

Read More
Nov 20, 2015

  At Bike Law, we’re big fans of cyclocross, and we sponsor a Bike Law CX Team. With the cyclocross season in full swing, we have riders heading to Hendersonville, North Carolina, for a November 28 event. The event, presented by Asheville Cyclocross, is being held at the Oskar Blues REEB Ranch. The Bike Law […]

Read More
smartphone use, distracted biking, bicycle crashes, bicycle driving
Nov 19, 2015

Distracted biking was the subject of a recent news article, Cities and States Try to Crack Down on Distracted Bicycling. The article’s back-and-forth debate centered on this question: do we need special laws to block cyclists from riding with earbuds or using handheld smartphones? Several cities or states have already banned cyclists’ use of handheld […]

Read More
bicycle accident, bike crash, bicycle accident attorney, bicycle accident lawyer, North Carolina bicycle accident, North Carolina bicycle accident lawyer
Nov 17, 2015

Look at the above picture. There’s nothing special about it, really – aside from the obvious fact that every ride with your buddies is special. Now take another look. What you’re seeing is two abreast riding, a common practice in nearly every group ride. Currently, North Carolina’s law is silent on riding two abreast, and cyclists across […]

Read More
Nov 14, 2015

Earlier this year, our client David Spranger was riding his bike to work at 5:00 a.m. His bicycle was covered in lights and reflective gear, and he was wearing a bright yellow rain jacket. David was seriously injured when a driver in a minivan struck him from behind. David’s injuries included fractured bones and a […]

Read More
Nov 11, 2015

After deliberating for more than five and a half hours on Friday, a Cook County jury decided to compensate a male bicyclist injured in a 2011 collision with a SUV in Palos Heights.  Our firm represented the cyclist at the week long trial. The case was a tough one and the verdict of $37,000 reflects […]

Read More
Gas, gas tax, bicycle accident, bike crash, bicycle accident attorney, bicycle accident lawyer
Nov 09, 2015

We had just finished a short and pleasant ride to a local coffee shop and were returning home. As we crested a short hill, an impatient motorist passed us and forced an oncoming car to the shoulder. The motorist who had been forced from the road rolled down his window and motioned at us. “Bicycles […]

Read More
Bike Law Bullitt Cargo Bikes
Nov 03, 2015

If you followed the Bike Law National Tour, you probably noticed a number of cargo bikes in our pictures, like this shot from our Detroit scavenger hunt.  Here I am, at speed and with cargo. Simply stated, we are big fans of cargo bikes. A number of the Bike Law lawyers use them to commute, […]

Read More
Nov 02, 2015

The unthinkable has happened – during a short bike ride around town your buddy is injured in a bike-car collision. What’s your best course of action? I’ve seen plenty of lists on lawyer sites but rarely are they addressed specifically to cyclists. Bike Law attorney Ann Groninger has handled hundreds of bike accident cases, and […]

Read More
Nov 02, 2015

You’ve just received an e-mail from your local bicycling club: a new bill working its way through the State House could be bad news for bicyclists. Your cycling club has prepared a form letter and is urging you to fire it off to the lawmaker in your district. But are those form letters effective? Yes […]

Read More
Nov 02, 2015

The “Idaho stop” is not new but it’s in the news again and generating a fresh round of controversy.  What is the Idaho stop and yield? Under a law passed in 1982, Idaho bicyclists can treat a stop sign as a yield sign and a red light as a stop sign, assuming it’s safe to do so. Currently, only […]

Read More
Oct 22, 2015

A taxi driver who fled the scene after striking a Chicago bicyclist from behind in Wicker Park could not escape accountability.  The driver, Tilek Tulemyshev, and the cab company, Best Cab Corp, have paid $300,000 to the injured biker, a 33 year old airline attendant, following a lawsuit filed against them by FK Law. On September […]

Read More
Load More