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Drunk cyclist who rode bike on motorway sentenced

Police forced Waldemar Coelho onto grass verge of M3 after he was spotted “wobbling around all over the place” on the M3

A cyclist who rode his bike on a motorway while drunk, with police describing him as “wobbling around all over the place,” has been handed a community order.

Hampshire Constabulary had to put a rolling road block into place after Waldemar Coelho was spotted riding on the M3 near Eastleigh last year, reports the Daily Echo.

Southampton Magistrates’ Court heard that the driver of a police vehicle managed to nudge the 28-year-old rider off the motorway onto the grass verge at around 5am on 14 May this year after he had tried to avoid being stopped by police.

Coelho accepted that he had been drinking, but denied having taken drugs, with Mark Rigby telling the court in mitigation that his client was “quite horrified by what the ramifications could have been for him and other road users.

“He is shocked by the situation he found himself in,” the barrister continued. “He has no want to attempt to undermine the seriousness of the situation he put himself in.

“He feels that at the age of 28, he should be maturing,” Mr Rigby added, and that Coelho had said that “he’s getting too old for the criminal justice system.”

Anne Srokosz, the magistrate chairing the bench, told Coelho: “This is really serious. Serious danger to the public.

“Never mind one accident, there could have been lots of accidents. You’re on a motorway riding a bicycle and you don’t remember. That probably means you were very intoxicated.”

Coelho was handed a 12-month community order and told carry out 60 hours of unpaid work, as well as paying £85 in costs and a victim surcharge of £114.

He was also given an alcohol monitoring restriction for 32 days and ordered to take part in 25 days of 25 rehabilitation activities.

We’ve reported on a number of cases over the years here on in which cyclists have been escorted off motorways by police, with most of those fortunately ending without anyone being hurt.

In 2016, however, cyclist Simon Wagner was killed after a car driver hit him as he rode on middle lane of the M3 in Hampshire near Fleet Services.

> Cyclist killed on M3 was victim of “unavoidable collision” inquest hears

Coroner Andrew Bradley, recording a verdict of accidental death, said: “It was quite clear on May 5 for whatever reason, there is no explanation, he is riding along the M3 motorway in the hours of darkness.

"He has consumed alcohol, that may have impaired his judgement. It may have made him feel he was invincible.

“This is a very strange situation, not one for which I have any explanation at all. For that I am sorry,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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