A student cycling a pedal bike which had an extra kick courtesy of a homemade 50 CC engine has been fined for failing to have a licence or insurance.
The "when is a bike not a bike?" case in Cork District Court heard that Garda Paul Lynch spotted a two wheeled device whizzing down Washington Street and on to Grand Parade in the city on January 26th last.
Garda Lynch initially thought it was a high speed mountain bike. However, when he stopped and examined the bike it was found to have a 50CC engine attached.
He told Judge Olann Kelleher that the bike "was a homemade contraption. I believe it was an MPW."
Crucially for defendant Willian Dos Santos mechanically propelled vehicles or MPV's need a licence and insurance.
'Driving at speed'
Mr Dos Santos (28) of Lancaster Quay in Cork was prosecuted on two charges of having neither a licence nor insurance for the bike.
The student, who also works part-time, acknowledged that he was stopped by gardaí, but he refuted suggestions he was "driving at speed".
Willian Dos Santos said of the garda evidence: “What he said is true. He stopped me.”
"It is weak, not strong. You have to use the pedal for the engine to engage."
Garda Lynch said he seized the bike and brought it for a test drive.
He told the court there was a throttle engine on it, and it was not necessary to pedal to get the engine going.
Willian Dos Santos said he bought it from a man who delivered food. He stated that the previous owner had put the engine on it.
He thought it was classed as regular bike and did not know it had become a vehicle since the engine was attached.
Judge Kelleher laughingly asked the Garda: “Where is the bike now? Are you driving it yourself?”
The Judge said that he believed that Mr Dos Santos acted in good faith and genuinely did not know that he was breaking the law in "driving" the vehicle without a licence or insurance.
He fined him €100 and gave him four months to pay. Mr Dos Santos thanked the court for its understanding and agreed to pay the fine.