While ride-sharing is usually associated with companies like Uber and Lyft, new companies are beginning to offer ride-sharing programs for motorized scooters. Lime and Bird are two companies that have recently offered motorized scooters on a shared basis. For a fee, these motorized scooters may be “borrowed” for a specified period of time. Two companies that are commonly associated with motorized scooter ride-sharing are Lime and Bird. Both companies already have a presence in Atlanta, Georgia and will likely expand to other urban areas of the state, such as Savannah and Columbus in the future as demand rises.
With the increased use of these ride-share scooters comes more accidents between scooter operators and pedestrians or other vehicles. What happens if you operate a Lime or Bird scooter in Georgia while under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
In a recent case in California, an individual was successfully prosecuted for DUI while driving a Bird scooter on a Los Angeles sidewalk. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-scooter-dui-20180926-story.html A prosecution for DUI while operating a Bird or Lime scooter would also likely be successful in Georgia as well.
For purposes of a DUI, a “motor vehicle” is defined by Georgia law generally as any vehicle with wheels that is powered by gas, electricity or steam. This would seem to cover scooters offered by Lime and Bird. Therefore, persons who operate Lime or Bird scooters in Georgia while under the influence of drugs or alcohol should be aware that their conduct may result in criminal prosecution. It is expected that these cases will mostly arise following accidents with pedestrians and other vehicles but as the use of these ride-sharing platforms increases one can expect that law enforcement attention to this issue will likewise increase.