Can you be breathalysed on an electric bike?

Eric has been involved in the electric bike industry since 2002, when he opened a 6000 square foot electric bike shop in downtown San Francisco.

If you are a habitual drinker and driver, you are risking your life and the lives of those around you and should consider an electric bike as an alternative.

As an extreme example, if the police make observations of you riding your bike with a half-empty bottle of vodka in one hand, slurred speech and watery eyes, swerving across the road, and then make admissions to drinking, that’s probably enough to make the charge. After 1500 cycles, the battery will still work, but any battery ages over time, so it will start to lose capacity and therefore won’t power your electric bike so far.

In the UK, if an electric bicycle meets the EAPC requirements set out in the Electrically Assisted Pedal Cycles Regulations 1983 and the Pedal Cycles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1983, it can be legally ridden by anyone over the age of 14 without the need for registration, vehicle excise duty (road tax), insurance cover and a valid driving licence.

The speed of the electric bike depends on the voltage of the battery, so switching to a higher voltage battery is one way to go faster. What about driving an electric bike while drunk – is it the same legally as driving a 3-ton truck drunk? While this topic seems taboo (it’s never considered socially correct to drive a vehicle while intoxicated), this Thanksgiving I passed a breathalyzer test on my electric bike (thank goodness I was riding an electric bike), and I asked myself exactly this question. Before you make a change, make sure your bike can handle a higher voltage; otherwise, you risk damaging your controller.

But that doesn’t mean you want to spray water and road debris all over yourself and the many and varied components of your electric bike. Although, under federal law, your electric bike counts as a bicycle and not a “motor vehicle,” if you get pulled over you’ll have to argue this to a judge, and depending on the situation you were caught in (speeding, driving too fast, driving too drunk, riding on the sidewalk, riding a ridiculous looking ebike, etc.) you may find yourself stacking the deck against it.

Electric bicycles (EAPC) are an affordable, environmentally friendly, alternative mode of transportation for riders who are disabled from driving. The bike built at Chienkuo University of Technology includes innovations such as an electric motor to drive each wheel and handlebar heaters, but the most notable feature is a handlebar-mounted breathalyzer that prevents the bike from being driven if the rider is over the legal limit.

Acceleration is achieved by installing a special chip in the control unit, which does not damage the motor or the e-bike at all. It is illegal to ride the bike while under the influence of drink or drugs, and would be illegal if you are impaired to the point of being unable to have proper control of the bike. A group of engineers in Taiwan believe that drunk driving will be such a serious problem in the future that e-bikes will need a built-in breathalyzer.