On Wednesday, New York State grew to become the 15th state to legalize the use of recreational marijuana for adults, the tip of a protracted marketing campaign to repair a prohibition measure that was more and more at odds with societal norms. Among the many provisions of the brand new marijuana legislation is one that enables New Yorkers to smoke marijuana wherever that individuals can smoke cigarettes, which so far as public locations means wherever however parks and seashores (which suggests sadly no getting high with the Statue of Liberty).
However what if, as somebody with distinctive steadiness, you need to smoke a joint and journey your bike on the similar time?
Properly, that’s in opposition to the legislation, too, nevertheless it’s not as unlawful because it might be.
Toking and biking just isn’t a critical crime, due to New York’s lack of a selected legislation in opposition to ingesting and biking. Sure, should you jump on a Citi Bike after a number of beers (something no one at Streetsblog would know about), you will get pulled over by a cop, however the officer might solely hit you with a disorderly conduct or a reckless endangerment cost, not driving whereas intoxicated.
The identical applies to cyclists who puff and pedal. (Or presumably should you drop acid and bicycle, as chemist Albert Hofmann famously did in 1943.)
“It’s a misdemeanor versus a felony,” mentioned native bike lawyer Daniel Flanzig.
Disorderly conduct, as an example, can get you as much as 15 days in jail at worst. However a DWI can get you up to a year in jail, along with a six-month license suspension and a high-quality of as much as $1,000.
Nonetheless, Flanizg did warning that driving an e-bike or e-scooter intoxicated is explicitly unlawful underneath state legislation, which authentic invoice sponsor, State Sen. Jessica Ramos, confirmed additionally coated being excessive. The penalty for smoking that loud whereas on an e-bike or e-scooter, although not as heavy as a DUI or DWI, is up to 15 days in jail and a fine of up to $500.
Flanzig didn’t need to encourage smoking a joint whereas or immediately earlier than driving your bike, however he did put the difficulty into perspective, noting that the state ought to steer clear of making a penalty construction that mirrors the legal guidelines in opposition to working a motorized vehicle whereas intoxicated due to the relative harm a stoned bicycle owner can do.
“You could possibly harm your self, however you’re not going to kill a household of 4 whereas they’re crossing the road. When you say to somebody that the penalty for driving a automobile drunk is similar as driving a motorbike drunk, how do you dissuade them from not driving a automobile,” he mentioned.
Fellow bike lawyer Steve Vaccaro mentioned that though the prohibition in opposition to biking whereas drunk or excessive is actual, he wasn’t acquainted with anybody ever being charged underneath it.
“Reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct are prices solely not often used in opposition to visitors misconduct,” he mentioned. “I’ve by no means heard it used in opposition to the operator of a motorbike or of a automobile, primarily based on working whereas impaired.”