Six students have been banned from the roads for drink-driving e-scooters.
A court heard how one was almost four times over the drink-drive limit. And another was found with someone else on the back of the vehicle – a violation of the hire rules.
North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told there was confusion regarding the laws surrounding the use of e-scooters and that the students had ‘simply not appreciated that these are not toys, they are classed as vehicles’.
One student was found with someone else on the back of the vehicle – a violation of the hire rules. An e-scooter is pictured above in Jesmond, Newcastle
Five of the students were banned for between 12 months and 30 months and given fines. The sixth was fined and banned for six months.
Northumbria Police had stopped the men in the same area of Newcastle in the space of several hours on February 25.
Following the arrests and complaints from residents in Jesmond about dangerous riders, Newcastle City Council imposed a nightly ban on the city’s pilot scheme e-scooters.
Kate Matthews, defending two of the students, told the court the e-scooter scheme was being piloted in the city and said even some members of the legal profession did not know they were covered by the same drink-drive rules as other motorised vehicles.
North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court was told there was confusion regarding the laws surrounding the use of e-scooters and that the students had ‘simply not appreciated that these are not toys, they are classed as vehicles’
The scooters were free to ride overnight at the time, she said, and people needed a provisional licence and to read through terms and conditions – something they were unlikely to do in the early hours of the morning.
She said the hire firm running the e-scooter scheme has now switched off the machines so they cannot be ridden overnight.
John Crawford, representing another student, said the e-scooters had a top speed of 10-15mph, adding: ‘The risk they pose is significantly lower than that of a car.’
Robert Lawson, prosecuting five of the six of the cases, which were heard separately, said one officer spotted a number of men scooting towards him on Osborne Road, Jesmond, at around 5.30am on February 25, having received ‘numerous’ complaints about people riding in an anti-social way.
Police had already caught a number of students by this time.
Chairman of the Bench John Doyle banned five students for between 12 months and 30 months and imposed fines.
District Judge Paul Currer dealt with the other case and banned that young man for six months, having heard he only intended to ride 300-400m home.