German police have revealed that hundreds of electric scooter users lost their driving licenses after riding while drunk at the Oktoberfest beer festival in Munich.
A total of 414 people were caught riding an e-scooter while under the influence, and 254 lost their driving licenses as a result, according to a police statement released Monday. In 32 cases, police patrols intervened to prevent drunk driving.
In Germany, e-scooters, which were only legalized in June, are categorized as motorized vehicles. This means that drink-driving laws apply to riders – as some found out the hard way during the world’s largest beer festival.
Police identified e-scooters as a new challenge during the 16-day Oktoberfest – an annual festival of traditional German food, dancing, beer and clothing that ran from September 19 to October 4 – working to keep the festival grounds clear of the vehicles.
To stop riders abandoning their e-scooters in the grounds, they were prevented from logging out of the scooter hire app while on site, and clusters of abandoned scooters were removed each night from around the city.
Authorities around the world are currently grappling with how to deal with scooters.
As urban populations swell, cities and start-ups have been searching for fresh transportation solutions.
E-scooters offer an affordable and quick way to make short trips in congested cities, much like bicycles, but without anyone breaking a sweat.
However they can be a nuisance – piling up in roadways and at popular destinations – as well as dangerous.
After a spate of injuries, city authorities in Austin, Texas, asked the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to investigate e-scooter-related crashes and injuries.
The study, published in May, found that one in three injured riders were hurt on their first trip, and about 63% had ridden nine times or fewer before their injury.
The researchers concluded that additional training may be necessary for e-scooter riders.
Matt McFarland contributed to this story.