With increased potential for negative coverage in local media, the reopening of pubs and bars has brought a fresh challenge for the various micro-mobility operators who are currently conducting UK e-scooter trials. While there have so far been relatively few cases of drunk riding, rental firms are at pains to emphasise the measures they are taking to ensure their vehicles are being used responsibly.
Wary of similar behaviour, a spokesperson for Wind Mobility told Nottinghamshire Live: “Wind Mobility has a zero-tolerance policy for drunk riding and will immediately suspend the account if a user is reported for drunk riding.
"We will also report the user to the police and want to warn our users that drunk riding an e-scooter can have serious consequences for their driving licence as the licences are linked to each user’s Wind account.
"In addition to educating our users via the Wind app and our social media platforms that drunk riding is not permitted, we are also in constant exchange with Nottinghamshire Police to adjust the number of parking spots in hot spot areas."
Neighbourhood Policing Inspector Paul Gummer, who covers Nottingham city centre, added: "E-scooters are not toys and drink driving them could have a serious impact on your driving licence, or ability to take a test in the future.
"As well as this, driving the e-scooters whilst under the influence of alcohol poses a danger to yourself, other road users and pedestrians.
"The message is clear – do not drive an e-scooter while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is illegal, reckless and unsafe."
In Newcastle, a 9mph evening speed limit was temporarily imposed on e-scooters by operator Neuron last week in a bid to prevent the vehicles from being ridden dangerously by “overly-exuberant revellers” now that pubs are open again.
Riders were also banned from parking in large parts of the city centre between 6pm and 11pm. (An 11pm shut-off time having been introduced after five men were charged with drink driving in March.)
These measures appear to have been largely successful – although Chronicle Live reports that police received one complaint about a man riding an e-scooter in an anti-social manner on Grey Street at around 8.30pm on Friday. He was arrested and has been charged with driving a motor vehicle when above the legal alcohol limit.
A spokesperson for Neuron said: "All of our riders sign up to a comprehensive list of riding rules before they are allowed to take their first trip. They highlight that they need to be over 18, have a driving licence, and that only one person is allowed on an e-scooter at a time.
"The rules are clear when it comes to not riding under the influence of alcohol or other substances, and of course they get guidance on where and how to park and ride.
"The riding rules appear in the app that riders see at the start of every trip, plus there’s voice guidance to remind people of some of the key points, and even stickers on the e-scooters with the main dos and don’ts.
"If anyone spots any of these rules being broken they can report them to us directly 24/7 on 0191 917 4313 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
"The police are enforcing the rules and riders need to understand that if they break the law there's a risk of prosecution and penalty points on their driving licence."
Trials of rented scooters covered by a motor vehicle insurance policy have been taking place in a number of towns and cities around the UK since the government lifted a ban in July 2020.
Trials are scheduled to run for 12 months and will allow the government to evaluate the safety, benefits, public perception and wider impact of e-scooters.
The rules for private e-scooters have not changed. It is against the law to use a privately owned e-scooter.