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A bicycle is a vehicle for purposes of the driving under the influence statute of the District of Columbia, D.C. Code § 50-2201.05 (2001).
Defendant Baker N. Everton was intoxicated while riding his bicycle. He was charged with and convicted of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol in violation of D.C. Code § 50-2201.05 (2001). On appeal, defendant claimed that D.C. Code § 50-2201.05, part of the Traffic Act of 1925, which criminalized operating a "vehicle" under the influence of alcohol, did not apply to him because although he was concededly intoxicated, the bicycle he was riding was not a "vehicle" as defined by the statute.
Was a bicycle considered a “vehicle” under D.C. Code § 50-2201.05, thereby justifying the defendant’s conviction under the statute?
The court found that § 50-2201.05, provided, in part, that no person should operate or be in physical control of any vehicle in the District of Columbia while under the influence of intoxicating liquor or any drug or any combination thereof. Furthermore, the Traffic Act (Act) defined vehicle as any appliance moved over a highway on wheels or traction tread, including street cars, draft animals, and beasts of burden pursuant to D.C. Code § 50-2201.02(9). The court held that under the Act's clear and unambiguous language defining vehicle, a bicycle was a vehicle, as it was an appliance consisting of a metal frame mounted on two wheels that can move over a highway. Accordingly, the court held that a bicycle was a vehicle for purposes of the driving under the influence statute of the District of Columbia. Therefore, the trial court did not err in finding defendant guilty of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, in violation of § 50-2201.05.