A Picton man might end up getting fit on the benefit after losing his license for drunkenly riding a child-sized motorbike through the town centre.
Earlier this week, Judge Tony Zohrab sentenced Robert James Parker, 44, to six months supervision, to undergo alcohol counselling, 100 hours of community service and disqualified him from driving for a year and a day after police caught him drink-driving on a miniature 30cc motorbike on High St, Picton, on May 4.
Mr Parker bought the Harley Davidson lookalike for $300 from a second hand store about three weeks ago and sold it back to them for $150 after losing his license.
Smoking a cigarette at his niece’s house in Picton where has been living for the past few months, the former long-haul truck driver from Bulls said he was feeling confident when he hopped on the knee-high cruiser after leaving a bar in the town centre.
He passed a police inspection on Waikawa Rd while riding it sober a week earlier and they checked he had a helmet, license and that the bike was in good condition before giving him the all-clear.
On the night, he felt there would not be too much of a problem riding it with a few drinks onboard because he would only hurt himself in a crash, he said.
The knee-high two-stroke bike, designed to look like a little Harley Davidson chopper, had a top speed of about 20 kilometres per hour - even that would have been a stretch for Parker who stands about six-feet-tall.
‘‘They pulled me over and made me walk it up the street to the cop station - they took away the keys too, as if I could do a runner.
‘‘Then they charged me and made me push it up the hill to home. I had to go back the next day to get the key for it.’’
Police officers stopped him and charged him with drink driving after seeing what they thought was his headlight bouncing down the street but was actually a battery-powered spotlight he had attached to the bike instead.
‘‘They saw me wobbling up the road, leaning forward adjusting the light and by the time I had it straightened out, the blue lights were behind me.’’
He told them he had drunk 12 beers and a few shots before heading home to his niece’s house. His breath test recorded an excess breath alcohol level of 892mcg - the legal limit is 400mcg.
Being suspended from driving meant he would have to re-sit his truck driving license, which will cost about $1000, but in the meantime he hoped to find work ‘‘away from the road’’ such as driving diggers.
‘‘And I’ve got 100 hours of community service to keep me busy a couple of days a week.
‘‘I’ve got to hitch a ride into Blenheim to see about probation and getting a benefit while I’m off work. I suppose I’m going to get a bit fitter because I’m not sitting on my arse driving all day.’’
He has still got a V8 Holden Senator in the garage which will stay there ‘‘unless someone wants to offer about $14,000’’.
He had five previous drink-driving convictions, but the last was in 1995.
- The Marlborough Express