E-scooters are quickly filling up cities around the country. Cruising up to 15 miles per hour, the rental scooters are all over Chicago. While many visitors and locals are taking advantage of the new and efficient mode of transportation, not everyone is operating the vehicles responsibly.
Riders have been found riding the vehicles on sidewalks, leaving them in inappropriate places, running red lights, and striking pedestrians. One of the more dangerously irresponsible behaviors is riding an e-scooter while intoxicated. While some may not realize this, doing so is breaking the law. Not only could the rider face legal consequences, but they could hurt themselves or others.
The Dangers of Riding an E-scooter Intoxicated
E-scooter injuries are becoming a serious problem in cities like Chicago. A significant number of injuries are the result of intoxicated riders. While a person might assume riding a rental scooter while under the influence is safer than driving a car, this is not the case. Operating a scooter is just as dangerous because of the likelihood of injury. It’s easy for an inebriated rider to lose control of a scooter.
Drunk e-scooter riders might swerve into traffic and cause an accident. There’s also the chance of running over pedestrians. Fortunately for accident victims, legal action can be sought against a negligent e-scooter rider because operating any vehicle while intoxicated is illegal.
Illinois’ DUI Fact Book
The 2019 Illinois DUI Fact Book features information relevant to drivers of all types of vehicles. This book was issued in an attempt to combat drunk driving. Whether you’re driving a car or riding an electric scooter, the state DUI laws apply to you.
Driving under the influence is defined as operating a motor vehicle while impaired. Impairment can be from alcohol, drugs, intoxicating compounds, or methamphetamine. In Illinois, drivers are legally considered drunk if they have a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) higher than 0.08 percent. Within the state, the average DUI offender is male, around the age of 34, arrested between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. on a weekend, and caught with a BAC of 0.16%.
While some may think the state’s definition leaves out e-scooters because of the term “motor vehicle,” this is not the case. In fact, according to federal regulations, a motor vehicle is self-propelled and able to transport a person or material. While an exception does state vehicles that travel until 25 miles per hour do not fall into the category of a motor vehicle, it’s up to law enforcement officers to determine if you are riding an e-scooter under the influence and what consequences come with that.
Understanding Electrical Scooter Companies’ Policies
When you rent an e-scooter, you have to agree to the terms and conditions set out by the company. As of September 2019, there are ten e-scooter companies in Chicago: Bird, Lime, Lyft, Jump, Spin, Sherpa, Bolt, Grüv, Wheels, and VeoRide. When you accept the user agreement, you are contractually bound to what it says. A number of the user agreements discuss how riders are supposed to refrain from riding the devices while intoxicated.
For example, the Lime user agreement does not allow anyone with a major alcohol or drug-related incident in the past seven years to rent its scooters. Under the Prohibited Conduct section, riders agree to not use the vehicles while under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that impairs their ability to operate the scooter. If someone chooses to do so, they are not covered by Lime in the event an accident or injuries occur.
Bird is the other well known e-scooter rental company. They have similar conditions in their user agreement. In addition to that, they instruct users to refrain from riding if they’ve been drinking any alcohol as part of their safety guidelines.
Seek Recovery Today
While there are no laws in Illinois that ban drinking and operating an e-scooter, it’s likely that legislation will arise in the future. Even without specific laws, operating a scooter under the influence can be considered a crime, especially if someone gets hurt.
If you’ve been injured by a negligent e-scooter rider, Thomas Law Offices can help you seek compensation for your losses. Determining liability and proving fault can be challenging when it comes to electric scooter accidents, but we have the knowledge and experience needed to help you recover financially and get back on your feet. To learn more about the benefit of seeking legal representation after a personal injury accident, contact our office today. We’ll explain your legal rights and options, so you can make an informed decision regarding filing a claim.