Drunk on a bike on Mission Beach boardwalk

They've got you by the handlebars

Until last October 7 at 1:15 a.m., John “Dirty Foot” Shultz thought he’d seen it all. Since graduating from Mission Bay High in 1961 Shultz has pretty much been a regular along the boardwalk in Mission Beach, near which he now lives in his car. Like a proper local, Dirty Foot Shultz enjoys a cold beer on a warm day and gets around on his rusty and trusty Schwinn. But now he’s not so quick to grab a beer and go crusing; in that wee October morning Shultz was busted for drunk driving – on his bike.

In court last Friday afternoon the deputy city attorney prosecuting the case had to apologize to the judge. “Your honor, I’m sorry for the delay,” said Pete Dodge, “but this is the first ‘driving a bike under the influence of drugs or alcohol’ I’ve ever handled.”

“You and me both, Mr. Dodge,” said Judge Wayne Peterson.

It’s true. Under vehicle-code section 21200 there are now criminal sanctions against riding drunk on a bicycle or unicycle. Since the amended version of the law (making it a criminal offense) took effect late last year, all the cops who patrol the beach area have written drunk-riding tickets. They administer the sobriety test the same as they do for drunk drivers, and if the blood alcohol level is 1.0 or higher, downtown go the miscreants to be booked into county jail. The maximum penalty is a $250 fine. Dirty Foot Shultz, who is currently unemployed, was fined $100 but the judge suspended it with the proviso that he not get busted for the same offense in the next year.

“It’s just harassment,” claims Shultz, who says he knows of other locals who have been cited for being drunk on a bike. “They’re trying to clean out the beach for the people who own the condos. The cops told me I could go to Arizona or anywhere else, but just get away from the beach. But I’m one of those die-hard people. I do what I want, not what I’m told. It’s my beach, too.”

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