LA Authorities Charge First E-Scooter Rider With DUI After BAC Was Three Times Legal Limit

Scooter riders in Los Angeles
Scooter riders in Los Angeles
Photo: Mario Tama (Getty)

Los Angeles authorities have charged a 28-year-old man with a DUI for operating an electric scooter, the first known case of its kind in the city, reports the Associated Press.

The LA City Attorney’s Office said Nicholas Kauffroath had a blood-alcohol level more than three times the legal limit while operating a scooter made by startup Bird on Aug. 4, when he knocked over a 64-year-old pedestrian on a sidewalk.


From the AP:

The pedestrian was knocked down leaving a theater and suffered a knee abrasion while the rider continued on.

Kauffroath pleaded no contest to operating a motorized scooter under the influence and hit-and-run.

LA’s struggled with the sudden influx of e-scooters in the city, as our west coast editor Andrew Collins noted in July. Like many cities across the country where e-scooter startups have suddenly arrived and dumped scooters onto public streets, there’s been a harsh adjustment period with riders parking them in impolite spots, and scooters dealing with malfunctions and damage.

Now, there comes Kauffroath’s case, which shows that authorities aren’t going to shy away from charging riders for operating e-scooters like jerks (or, in this case, drunk).


The AP reports that Kauffroath was placed on 36 months probation and had to complete a DUI program.

Senior Reporter, Jalopnik/Special Projects Desk

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`



People get DUIs using all manner of non-car vehicles, and it’s absurd. Not that they shouldn’t have some sort of punishment (they do still pose a danger, as evidenced here), but the idea that riding a scooter (or riding a bicycle) drunk is legally as bad as driving drunk is ridiculous.