Copenhagen Police charge 28 for riding electric scooters while intoxicated

Copenhagen Police last weekend issued penalties against 28 people for being in control of electric scooters in an intoxicated condition.

Copenhagen Police charge 28 for riding electric scooters while intoxicated
File photo: Søren Bidstrup / Ritzau Scanpix

Linking to traffic rules which apply to the use of the scooters, the city’s law enforcement confirmed the charges in a Twitter post.

24 of the weekend’s charges were for driving under the influence of alcohol, while the remaining 4 charges were for using the scooters while under the influence of recreational drugs, police stated in the tweet.

The Danish Traffic Safety Council (Rådet For Sikker Trafik) website outlines the rules, which were introduced by the Danish Road Safety Agency (Færdselsstyrelsen) as part of the trial scheme allowing the lightweight vehicles to use cycle lanes.

READ ALSO: Denmark allows use of scooters and hoverboards in bicycle lanes

The rules forbid use of the machines while on drugs and enforce a maximum blood alcohol level of 0.5 grams per kilogram of blood, based on the legal limit for use of any type of motorized vehicle.

Scooter users are also required to follow the traffic rules and lane discipline which apply to cyclists; always ride with lights switched on and only ride one person to a scooter.

The motorized scooters have proliferated in number in Copenhagen in recent months, with rental companies operating them since traffic rules were adapted to allow their use. They are easily unlocked using apps, making them a convenient form of transport on the city's bicycle lanes.

The city recently announced limits would be introduced to restrict their numbers in certain areas.

READ ALSO: Copenhagen to limit number of rental electric scooters

“The combination of a motorized vehicle and alcohol is a bad idea in general, but the electric scooter is undoubtedly extra dangerous when combined with blood alcohol,” Danish Traffic Safety Council project coordinator Liv Kofoed-Jensen said.

“A scooter is a more vulnerable vehicle than, for example, a bicycle or a moped… When you turn on a scooter you shift your weight and use your balance, and the centre of gravity is harder to find on a scooter than on a bicycle,” she added, while also stressing the effect of alcohol on the driver’s ability to react.

No data yet exists on the relative safety of the scooters compared to other forms of transport.

A fine of 2,000 kroner is the regular punishment for using the vehicles while intoxicated, but aggravated circumstances such as repeat offences can result in stronger penalties.

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Copenhagen to ban electric scooters from city centre

The city of Copenhagen wants to ban electric scooter rentals from the city centre, officials said Friday, in what would be one most strict regulations against a symbol of the new ‘sharing economy’.

Copenhagen to ban electric scooters from city centre
Electric scooters in Copenhagen. Photo: Liselotte Sabroe / Ritzau Scanpix

“It will no longer be possible to rent or park an electric scooter in the majority of Copenhagen's most built up areas from January 1st,” the city's environmental and technical services department said in an email to AFP.

In practice, the measure will ban scooters from the historic city centre and adjacent neighbourhoods, where it is already prohibited to park them.

“Unfortunately, we have encountered major problems with these electric scooters… It is extremely difficult for seniors to get around when they are left lying about,” municipal councillor Rune Dybvad said on TV2.

The measure needs to be approved by the municipal council but enjoys widespread support.

Despite being a symbol of the ‘sharing economy’, riders are not always generous or caring of others, zipping between pedestrians and leaving scooters poorly parked, thus prompting a number of cities to adopt strict regulations on their use.

Police in the city last summer stopped 28 people in one weekend for riding the scooters while drunk or stoned.

READ ALSO: Electric scooters are 'seven times' more dangerous than bicycles on Danish roads