If you live in Metro-Atlanta, chances are you've seen at least one of the thousands of electric scooters filling the sidewalks after scooter companies like Bird and Lime arrived in Atlanta early last summer. The scooters quickly sprouted across intown Atlanta, showing up in neighborhoods including Buckhead, downtown, midtown, and even some here in Dekalb County. Though the scooter companies have not shared how many scooters are on the streets, we know they're in the thousands. In December, Decatur became one of the first counties around Atlanta to heavily regulate the scooters when legislators decided to allow only 50 scooters per company.
As a Dekalb County DUI Lawyer, the arrival of this new and easily accessible form of transportation caused me to wonder what traffic laws would apply. In today's post, I'm going to discuss the current state of traffic laws applied to scooter riders as well as where the law might be heading.
Though Dekalb has been regulating scooters since 2018, the Atlanta City Council is only just starting to enforce new scooter regulations. Atlanta Police Department uploaded a public service announcement to detail scooter do's and don'ts under the new ordinances. The video explains that:
- Scooters must be ridden in a bike or vehicle lane on the street and not on the sidewalk.
- They must be ridden with the flow of traffic.
- Scooter Rides must comply with all traffic signs & laws
- Riders must always yield to pedestrians
- Do not use a cell phone while riding
- When parking your scooter, do not block crosswalks, doorways, driveways, bike lanes, vehicle lanes, or parking areas and leave at least five feet clear for walking on the sidewalk.
Violations can carry a fine of up to $1,000 and even up to six months in jail. According to reports, Atlanta Police don't set the fine amount, and they don't believe the courts will impose severe punishments for the new scooter violations.
I've been asked several times if drinking while operating a Bird or Lime could result in a DUI in Dekalb County. The answer is yes. Under Georgia law, it is illegal for any person to operate “any moving vehicle” while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. “Any moving vehicle” has been interpreted to mean: Bicycles, tractors, riding lawn mowers, electric wheelchairs, donkeys, horses, mules, animal-drawn wagons, and even electric scooters.
While riding electric scooters around Dekalb and surrounding areas this summer may be fun, it's essential to know that the law still applies. If you have been accused of operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, you need to call an experienced Dekalb County DUI Attorney today. At the Law Offices of Richard S. Lawson, our lawyers are equipped to handle your unconventional DUI charge. Call our office today to discuss your case.