Those familiar with Atlanta know that "Bird" and "Lime" are both words that now have double meanings – aside from their traditional definitions, both Bird and Lime are now synonymous with electric scooters. Though there is no data on just how many scooters are on the streets of Atlanta, the number is well over a thousand. Companies such as Bird and Lime, as well as numerous others, arrived in Atlanta last summer, and for a while, it seemed as if the public had free reign. However, early this year, the Atlanta City Council implemented new legislation to regulate these scooters – and these new regulations are now just starting to be enforced.
As a Georgia DUI Attorney, I realized not many people would recognize that traffic laws would apply to this relatively new and easily accessible form of transportation. In today's post, I will discuss the current state of laws applied to electric scooters as well as the penalties associated with violating them.
When the newly enacted legislation began to be implemented, the Atlanta Police Department uploaded a public service announcement to explain the do's and don'ts of electronic scooters under the new ordinances. In the video, we learn that scooters must comply with all traffic laws. Specifically, the APD emphasized:
- Rides must always yield to pedestrians
- Scooters must be ridden with the flow of traffic
- Scooters must be ridden in a bike or vehicle lane and not on the sidewalk
- Rides may not use their cell phone while the scooter is in motion
- At the end of every ride, the rider must park their scooter without blocking doorways, bike lanes, vehicle lanes, crosswalks, or parking areas. It must be left on the sidewalk with at least five feet of space for pedestrian traffic.
There are also penalties associated with violating these laws. Violators can expect a fine of up to $1,000 and even potentially up to six months in jail. Reports indicate that the Atlanta Police Department does not set this penalty and does not believe that the courts will impose strict punishments for the newly imposed electric scooter violations.
As a Georgia DUI Lawyer, many people ask me if it's possible to receive a DUI by operating an electric scooter after consuming alcohol. The answer is yes. According to Georgia Law, it is illegal for anyone to operate "any moving vehicle" while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. What most people don't realize is the extent of the term "moving vehicle." It has been interpreted to mean tractors, bicycles, riding lawn mowers, mules, horses, donkeys, animal-drawn wagons, electric wheelchairs, and even electric scooters.
While I know that the idea of riding electric scooters around Atlanta this summer may be fun, it is incredibly important to use care while riding them and to know that the law still applies. If you have been charged with a DUI or other traffic offense while riding an electric scooter, you need the help of an experienced attorney. Here at the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, our excellent team of lawyers is equipped to handle your unconventional DUI case in Georgia. Call our office today.