Published 9:00 PM EDT Sep 27, 2018
Don’t drink and scoot in Los Angeles.
City Attorney Mike Feuer announced on Thursday the successful prosecution of a 28-year-old man for driving under the influence while operating a Bird electric scooter. It is the first motorized scooter DUI incident to be charged in the nation’s second largest city.
Nicholas Kauffroath pleaded no contest to one count of operating a motorized scooter while under the influence and one count of hit-and-run. He was placed on 36 months of probation, fined $550, required to complete a three-month DUI alcohol program and ordered to pay restitution to the 64-year-old pedestrian victim. He was also instructed not to operate a motorized scooter with any alcohol in his system, according to a press release from Feuer’s office.
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“Drinking while operating a vehicle, a bike — or a scooter — is not only illegal, but can lead to serious injury or worse,” Feuer said. “This conviction demonstrates our office’s continued effort to enforce our drunk driving laws and make our streets and sidewalks safer.”
Kauffroath was found to have a blood alcohol level of .279, more than three times the legal limit, after he struck the pedestrian while operating a motorized scooter Aug. 4 on a West Los Angeles sidewalk, according to Feuer’s office. He failed to stop or render aid to the victim, who was knocked to the ground and suffered a knee abrasion, according to the release.
Based in Santa Monica, near Los Angeles, Bird is a dockless scooter-sharing company with vehicles available for rent in 19 states and Washington, D.C., plus Brussels, Paris, Tel Aviv and Vienna.
The Bird rental agreement states riders “must not operate” the scooter while under the influence of alcohol, drugs, medication or other substance that may impair the user’s ability to safely operate the vehicle.