A Yorkshire councillor, who in 2013 called for police action against cyclists who he claimed “were a law unto themselves” has been banned from driving for 18 months and fined £480 for a drunk driving offence.
At a meeting with police in 2013, and reported by the local newspaper, the Craven Herald, Councillor Andy Quinn asked Chief Superintendent Allison Higgins what could be done about cyclists, who he claimed were flouting the law as they sped through villages on the then upcoming 2014 Tour de France route.
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Referring to the village of Embsay, which is near Skipton, he said: “Packs of cyclists, sometimes riding three abreast, tore through the village on the National Cycling Route, reaching speeds of 40 to 50mph. They are a law unto themselves. We have an elderly population in Embsay and we’ve had incidents where car wing mirrors have gone missing. Something needs to be done.”
According to the Herald, he also said that he’d seen cyclists ignoring temporary traffic lights and failing to stop on red at pelican crossings.
At the time it appeared that Chief Superintendent Higgins had some sympathy for his views, because she agreed that cyclists were an increasing problem on the road and likened them to speeding motorcyclists, saying that cyclists needed to be re-educated, particularly because their number was likely to increase with the arrival in the area of the 2014 Tour de France.
So it was ironic when Councillor Quinn stopped at the scene of a road accident on June 29 this year, just days before stage one of the Tour de France was due to pass through his district, police noticed the smell of alcohol on his breath.
It must be stressed that Councillor Quinn had nothing to do with the accident, and had only stopped to help, but when asked to provide a sample of breath for a breath test he gave a reading of 61 micrograms of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. The legal limit for driving is 35 micrograms.
The case has sparked a lot of local interest, especially since the report of the meeting where Councillor Quinn’s concerns were raised attracted a lot of pro-cycling sentiment from the local community. People pointed out the possibility that logging trucks and other heavy traffic could have damaged wing mirrors, and the logic that any cyclist hitting a wing mirror at speed was likely to be injured, as well as pointing out unlikelihood of any cyclist other than a Tour de France rider attaining speeds of 40 to 50 mph on Yorkshire Dales roads