Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 31 August 2014

Inebriated scooter rider wins drink-driving case

A man caught drink-driving his scooter is believed to have made legal history after his case was dismissed because his vehicle was only “mechanically assisted”.

Jodie O'Dwyer (43), of Larchfield in Kilkenny city, was stopped by gardai for “weaving” on his “pedal” scooter while under the influence of alcohol and charged with drink-driving in the city on July 5 last year.

However, Judge William Harnett threw out the case at Kilkenny District Court earlier this week on the grounds that the scooter was a “mechanically assisted” and not a “mechanically propelled” vehicle.

A Garda witness told the court he had seen a man driving on a scooter on the Waterford Road.

The man, who was not wearing a helmet, was in the bicycle lane and was “leaning from side to side”, the Garda said. “I activated the blue lights and sirens and when the defendant got off the bike I noticed that there was no registration number on it.”

When speaking to Mr O'Dwyer, the Garda said his “eyes were glazed”. A breath sample later revealed Mr O'Dwyer was twice the legal limit.

Judge Harnett said Mr O'Dwyer “should have been charged with a different offence in relation to a bicycle”.

Speaking outside court, Mr O'Dwyer said: “Once you build up the speed by pedalling to 15 miles per hour it runs by itself on a battery until you brake. You don't need tax or insurance and you don't have to pay for petrol. It's a great way to get around.”

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