Man given driving ban after drunken ride on off-road bike

tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic3.
tis. Harrogate Magistrates Court. 311208ARpic3.
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A drunken early morning ride through a Harrogate housing estate on an off-road bike ended when it crashed into a police van trying to stop it, the town’s magistrates were told last Thursday.

They heard how the machine, without lights and with defective brakes, hit the side of the van in Fairfax Avenue, on the Knaresborough Road Estate, at 1am on July 26.

Before the court were Colin David White, who that day was celebrating his 26th birthday – and who had been piloting the bike – and Garath Adrian Robert Taylor, 27, who was riding pillion.

White, of Knaresborough Road, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to seven offences – drink-driving, careless driving, having neither insurance, proper licence nor crash helmet and using the machine with defective brakes and without any lights fitted.

Taylor, of Deane Place, Harrogate, pleaded guilty to not wearing a crash helmet but denied counts of permitting use with defective brakes, without lights and without insurance. He contended he was not the owner of the bike; it was shared between several people, though the court heard it had been kept at his home.

Prosecutor Martin Butterworth successfully applied for Taylor’s case to be adjourned for further prosecution inquiries. He was bailed until September 6.

Mr Butterworth told magistrates the off-road bike had initially come to police attention as neither rider nor pillion passenger was wearing a crash helmet. The van’s flashing blue lights were activated to stop the bike and the van pulled up where there were vehicles parked either side of the road.

When White tried to squeeze through a gap down the side of the van, it was struck on its offside, causing damage which would cost nearly £600 to put right. Both men fell off and though White was arrested at the scene, Taylor got to his feet and fled.

Mr Butterworth said White told police he had drunk vodka and red wine and could recall little of the incident other than being on the ground. Tests showed he was more than twice the limit.

In mitigation Geoffrey Rogers said in spite of his record – which included aggravated vehicle taking and driving while disqualified – White had held down a job for nine years with an exhibition contracting company.

The court heard his boss had paid the deposit on a flat for him after he had been homeless for a time. But he was not happy at what had now happened.

Mr Rogers said White had taken a day off work for his birthday and had drunk initially at home and then at Taylor’s house. He could not remember riding the bike, or why he had ridden it, only coming off it.

Presiding magistrate Marion Simon told White he had let his employer down as well as himself and added: ‘‘Hopefully you will learn from this.’’

He was made subject to a one-year community 
order with probation supervision and 140 hours of unpaid work. A 12-month driving ban was also imposed along with £85 costs.