Hundreds of Oktoberfest-goers lose license after drunken e-scooter rides

Locals and tourists gathered in Munich, Germany, to sing and drink beer learned the hard way that riding an e-scooter is not an acceptable alternative to driving a car while drunk. Police checkpoints set up around the city’s 16-day-long Oktoberfest celebrations caught hundreds of intoxicated motorists squiggling their way down a street or a sidewalk.

Approximately 6.3 million people went to Oktoberfest in 2019. Controlling such a big crowd is difficult in any situation, but Munich’s police department has it down to a science. They rely on undercover officers to stop brawls before they get bloody, and use video surveillance to catch pickpockets before they get away. The biggest problem officers encountered were e-scooters, according to German newspaper Deutsche Welle. They’re all over the place in Munich, as they are in most big German cities, so they were banned from entering the Oktoberfest beer gardens due to safety concerns. Someone carrying six steins of lager might not see one in an aisle and trip; alternatively, someone could also trip over it after drinking the six aforementioned steins.

Outside of the festival, 414 people were caught riding e-scooters drunk, and 254 of them lost their driver’s license because of it. Marcus da Gloria Martins, a spokesman for Munich’s police department, told Deutsche Welle many of the city’s residents see the e-scooters as a lifestyle product or a toy, and use them without realizing an offense committed on two wheels can end up their driving record. The best way to get home from Oktoberfest is to walk, take a subway, or hail a cab.

Interestingly, the number of drunk e-scooter riders apprehended suggests many beer drinkers assumed riding home on two wheels was better than driving home on four. To add context, 360 motorists were caught driving a car drunk in Munich during Oktoberfest, and 214 of them had their license taken away on the spot.

The story is similar in the United States, though the finer points vary from state to state. Broadly speaking, motorists — whether they’re on two, three, or four wheels — risk a DUI conviction if they operate a motor vehicle drunk on a public road. The law doesn’t make a distinction between riding a scooter (or a motorcycle) and driving a car. If you have eight beers, hop on a Lime, and ride home on the sidewalk, you’ve just broken it.

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