Drunk cyclist locked up and prosecuted under 140 year old

A Lycra- clad cyclist, who decided to push his bike home from a pub instead of riding it, ended up being arrested, locked up and hauled before a court to face a "rare" prosecution under a 140- year-old law.
A cyclist, who admitted to being drunk in charge of  a bike, has been prosecuted under a  140 year old law.A cyclist, who admitted to being drunk in charge of  a bike, has been prosecuted under a  140 year old law.
A cyclist, who admitted to being drunk in charge of a bike, has been prosecuted under a 140 year old law.

Andrew Walne, who had been "for a pint" after a ride, had set off walking with his cycle on the pavement for the few minutes it would take him to get home.

He thought it was the right thing to do, but found out it wasn't after he was held in custody for 18 hours, Burnley magistrates heard.

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The 53-year-old cyclist, who had been accused of colliding with a parked car, but says he didn't, has now been given a three-month conditional discharge - the minimum the bench said they could impose -after the court was told a bike was classed as a carriage under the Licensing Act 1872.

Walne, of The Mews, Colne, admitted being drunk in charge of a pedal cycle on North Street, Colne, on Tuesday, July 18th.

He must pay a £20 victim surcharge.

Prosecutor Miss Parveen Akhtar told the hearing that just before 6pm, a police officer attended a report of an accident and was told a cyclist had collided with the offside bumper of a Vauxhall Astra, damaging the wheel arch.

The cyclist was sitting on a wall and didn't answer when the officer asked him his name. He was wearing full cycling clothing, including a helmet and shoes. The officer could smell alcohol on his breath and said he was "drunk."

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Walne was handcuffed after he tried to pick up his bike and make off and he and the officer argued.

Miss Janet Sime, for Walne, described the case as " very interesting" and said the allegation was rare.

Under the "very old "charge, which covered horses, carts, carriages and " things from the Victorian era," a pedal cycle was classed as a carriage.

She told the hearing: "I do have a lot of sympathy with Mr Walne. The situation is he really did everything right.

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"He had been out on a bike ride and called for a pint. He didn't feel drunk, but he didn't feel capable of riding his bike and he pushed it home, a distance which would take less than five minutes.

"Whilst doing that he did have a tumble because of his cycling shoes. He didn't make contact with any vehicle."

Miss Sime said a man at the scene was being very aggressive and started saying Walne had damaged a car, when he hadn't. She told the hearing the defendant was concerned about his safety and when the man, who was with others, said he would phone the police, the defendant told him to do it and was waiting for officers' assistance.

The solicitor continued: "He doesn't believe he would have been drunk. He spent 18 hours at the police station in custody waiting to be charged with this."

Miss Sime added: "He was doing the right thing not riding his bike and was just pushing it home. He didn't know that would be an offence."