WICHITA, Kan. — The Wichita City Council has approved a new ordinance that will separate the offense of biking under the influence from driving a motor vehicle under the influence.

The ordinance was approved Tuesday, The Wichita Eagle (http://bit.ly/2c7EgNL ) reports. Under current city ordinances, drunken bicycle riding and drunken driving are treated the same. That poses a conflict with state law, which doesn’t have a crime for operating a human-powered vehicle under the influence.

A staff report by the city attorney’s office says the legal difference has caused some problems in calculating penalties for drunken drivers in court.

The new ordinance will make it a crime to operate a human-powered vehicle drunk if the rider causes a traffic or safety hazard. The penalty for a BUI would be $500 maximum and six months in jail. A judge could also order restitution if someone was injured by a drunken rider.

Police would be able to charge a person without a blood-alcohol test, but a person being arrested for biking under the influence would be able to request a test.

“The intent of this new ordinance is to hold them (drunken bikers) accountable for that action,” said Wichita police Capt. Jose Salcido.


Information from: The Wichita (Kan.) Eagle, http://www.kansas.com