Drunken e-scooter ride lands Northampton man 18-month driving ban

Accused, 30, was twice over the limit when stopped by police

Thursday, 8th July 2021, 1:29 pm
Updated Thursday, 8th July 2021, 1:30 pm

A Northampton man has been hit with a whopping fine and banned from driving for 18 months after riding a rented e-scooter while twice over the drink-drive limit.

Samuel Jonathan Wilkins, aged 30, was stopped on board the Voi electric scooter in Northampton on May 29.

Tests later revealed 73 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of his breath. The legal limit is 35.

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Voi scooters arrived in Northampton last year as an eco-friendly way of getting round town

Wilkins, of Gibson Lane, Dallington, was fined £650 after he pleaded guilty at Northampton Magistrates Court last week (July 1). He was also ordered to pay £65 surcharge to fund victim services and £85 prosecution costs.

Rented e-scooters, which are paid for by the minute via a smartphone app, were introduced last year in Northampton as an eco-friendly alternative to public transport.

More trials were launched in Kettering, Wellingborough, Rushden and Higham Ferrers in early-2021.

Rented e-scooters are classified as Personal Light Electric Vehicles, which means they can be ridden on public roads — unlike private e-scooters — but are treated as motor vehicles and are subject to all the same legal requirements such as insurance and licensing.

Just last month, a man was convicted of driving without reasonable consideration for other road users after riding an e-scooter on the wrong side of the road and crashing into a Vauxhall Corsa.

Police admit it took some time for the public to get to grips with the legal requirements of hiring the scooters.

But Voi implemented a number of changes to enhance the safety of the scheme, including visible number plates, a curfew when the scooters will stop working, and a system whereby nuisance riders are unable to access any of the scooters.

PC Dave Lee from Northamptonshire Police’s Safer Roads Team, said: “When these scooters were initially introduced into the town centre, it is fair to say that we were getting quite a lot of reports regarding people misusing them.

“However, since the trial has progressed, we have been able to work with Voi to iron out some of these initial issues and ensure that the right people are using the scooters for the right reasons, as well as ensuring there is a system in place to enforce against nuisance riders.”