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'Drunk' Mersey tunnel cyclists to be prosecuted for cycling while under the influence

Incident was captured on film by man in a passing car

Four men who cycled CityBikes through the Queensway tunnel after a night out are to be prosecuted for cycling when under the influence of drink or drugs. Footage of the incident had earlier spurred a Merseytravel committee member to call for a review of Mersey tunnel cycling rules.

The four cyclists reportedly took the decision to cycle home to Wallasey after a Boxing Day night out because they were unable to get a cab.

One of the cyclists, Jonny Ward, said: “It was a bit stupid and dangerous, and we’d had a few drinks – it wouldn’t have happened if we were sober – but it is legal to cycle at that time.”

It is not however legal to cycle when under the influence of drink. A Merseytravel spokeswoman told the Liverpool Echo that constables from the tunnels police force had stopped the cyclists at the time and will now prosecute.

“We are aware of the incident and can confirm that Mersey Tunnels Police stopped the cyclists who will be summonsed for prosecution under Section 30 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 – cycling when under the influence of drink or drugs.

“Cyclists using the Queensway tunnel are required to abide by the statutory regulations and laws that govern road users.”

According to Bike Hub’s page on Cycling and the Law, cyclists caught riding while intoxicated can be fined up to £2,500. Unlike driving a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, however, there is no set threshold beyond which an offence is committed.

The page says that unlike in some jurisdictions, cyclists found guilty of such an offence do not have their licences endorsed, although it also points out that under the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000, “the courts have the power to disqualify a cyclist from driving a car for any offence.”

There’s also a comprehensive analysis of the legal situation in the UK in this factsheet prepared by national cyclists’ charity, CTC.

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