The peaceful community of Baldwin Hills transformed into a veritable Isla Vista last night, as five allegedly drunk bicyclists in a pack of 15 — riding in the dark, with no helmets or fluorescents, switching lanes and directions like bees juiced on maraschino — were arrested for CUIs and hauled off to the California Highway Patrol's West L.A. office.
OK, technically the CHP calls it “operating a bicycle while under the influence of an alcoholic beverage,” but we're sticking with CUI — not to be confused with BUI, or “boating under the influence.” Which sounds pretty serious, too.
Here's an example of what can happen when you drink and bike, brought to you by what-not-to-do TV favorite Snooki:
As for those Baldwin Hills hooligans: One particularly wobbly rider gave the whole lot away by crashing and burning at South La Cienega Boulevard and Stocker Street. When CHP officers and paramedics arrived at the scene, they reported that:
“None of the bicyclists were wearing helmets, and due to the dim lighting, the cyclists were barely visible to passing motorists. As CHP officers contacted the group of bicyclists, they detected the odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the area of the riders.''
Must have been some strong shit! After a round of field sobriety tests, five of the 15 were handed CUIs. That includes the guy who crashed; officers apparently felt little pity for his “minor and moderate injuries.” (We'd blame Critical Mass, but they're belligerent enough without a nightful of whiskey under their belts.)
So much for trying to avoid a Hump Day DUI on your way back from the bars, right? Still, punishment for a CUI is not nearly as devastating, probably because you're mostly only endangering your sorry self. The potential consequences, according to USA Today:
In California, riding while under the influence is punishable by up to a $250 fine, according to the highway patrol. But the money is only part of the punishment. A rider caught drunk is arrested and must remain in a jail cell until he sobers up. The arrest becomes part of a criminal record, though it does not affect one's driving record or insurance. A rider may dispute the assessment by asking for a breath, blood or urine test.
With reporting from City News Service.