The world is certainly changing and one of the biggest trends to occur over the past year is the rise in electric scooter rentals. In our hometown of Los Angeles this has now become commonplace, with riders accessing the fast paced two-wheelers through apps on their phone. But just like any vehicle, there are risks to consider; particularly if you choose to operate one while intoxicated. In fact, several SoCal officials have now given the city permission to hand out DUI’s for renters who are over a legal limit.
Truth be told, these scooters are not fast enough to cause the type of damage you could inflict being behind the wheel of car. But there has been a reported increase in accidents across L.A., including one notable incident where a renter three times over the drinking limit smashed into a 64-year-old woman. Thankfully she wasn’t critically injured, but the city did issue the rider a $550 ticket and make him enroll in a mandatory alcohol program.
L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer wound up issuing a statement after the notable incident, hoping to bring attention to riding under the influence.
“Unfortunately, someone will always find a way to use these types of vehicles inappropriately,” he stated. “Let me emphasize that drinking while operating a vehicle, a bike—or a scooter—is not only illegal, but can lead to serious injury or worse.”
Amazingly, in the short amount of time that these vehicle have been operational, the ridership numbers have skyrocketed. In the past year alone, popular scooter maker Bird has touted 2.1 million rentals across 100 cities. And often times (just like in our backyard of Santa Monica), they are accessed by young people who use them to scoot from bar to bar.
While scooter-to-person accidents have yet to lead to fatalities, there is the very real risk of intoxicated riders getting hit by cars or injuring themselves doing dangerous stunts. As of right now no real monitoring program is in place, which has led to a lot of recklessness across the sidewalks of L.A.
Nevertheless, several local organizations have gone out of their way to promote scooter safety. UCLA, for example, released a viral video, touting helmets and proper etiquette while riding on campus grounds.
In our opinion, there is still a lot more than can be done. As this trend continues to grow, we are hopeful that the companies themselves (Bird and Lime being the most noteworthy) will help to promote safety and discourage any and all intoxicated riding.