Bicyclist Gets DUI, Loses Pennsylvania Driver’s License

July 22, 2008

After a drunken driving charge several years ago, Jeff Burke of Norristown, Pennsylvania took to riding a bike when he went out for beers.

He nonetheless was sentenced on a second DUI conviction this week for riding his bicycle drunk. Burke was cited after he says another driver struck him as he waited on a center median to cross the street.

“I get rear-ended, I go to jail. Figure that one out,” said Burke, who broke his tailbone in the July 2007 crash in suburban Philadelphia. “(The driver) was 100 percent in the wrong.”

But a prosecutor says Burke’s blood-alcohol level measured 0.155 — about twice the legal limit — and that he sported dark clothing on the rainy night.

Burke also missed his scheduled June sentencing, prompting the judge to issue a warrant for his arrest — and perhaps contributing to the 30-day jail sentence handed down Wednesday, the prosecutor said. Burke must also pay a $1,500 fine, surrender his license for up to 18 months and be evaluated for alcohol abuse.

“The statute is clear,” said Anthony Gil, an assistant prosecutor in Montgomery County. “Someone on a bicycle is subject to the DUI statute and here Mr. Burke was pedaling his bicycle while under the influence on a roadway.”

Absent a license, Burke has lost his job as a tow-truck driver, and instead toils in the front office. He’s serving his jail stint over 15 weekends.

The driver who struck him received a careless driving ticket.


Information from: The Philadelphia Inquirer

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