Hundreds Lose Driver Licenses for Drunk Scooter Riding During Oktoberfest Celebration

With an estimated 6.3 million people in town for the beer fest, it was only a matter of time.

A few hundred people in Germany will be spending a lot more time using public transport after losing their licenses for drunk driving. Munich police nabbed over 400 e-scooter riders during Oktoberfest, the famous celebration of beer which draws millions of people to the city annually. 

This year’s Oktoberfest in Munich drew an estimated 6.3 million people over its 16-day run, and though that number matches 2018’s totals, event organizers say that less beer was consumed than the year prior. Given the trouble they’re in, we’re guessing a group of scooter riders wish they’d partied a bit less as well. During the event, police caught 414 people e-scooting while under the influence, and a whopping 254 of them lost their licenses as a result. Compare this with the fact that 360 people were caught driving cars while drunk(215 of them lost their licenses) at the same time, and the numbers stand out even more. 

Though e-scooters have only been legal in Germany as a vehicle since mid-June, they’re already presenting big problems for local authorities. Officials say a major part of the problem is the fact that scooter riders think of them as toys or recreation products and use them as such. German law doesn’t agree with that sentiment and treats them as full-fledged vehicles, which means that all of the normal rules of the road apply to anyone hopping on a scooter. The two-wheelers weren’t actually allowed inside the festival grounds, so they ended up outside the event and scattered around the city.

People living in crowded urban areas like Los Angeles already know this pain all too well, because users often ditch their rides and walk away once they’ve reached their destination, leaving scooters on sidewalks and around other public areas. To help prevent this during Oktoberfest, riders were forced to stay logged in to their scooter hire apps while on-site at the event and unused scooters were hauled away from around the city each night.  

All of this isn’t likely to make life for e-scooter users in Germany any easier. There were already several accounts of drunken riders from across the country, several of whom were badly injured after either crashing or causing other accidents while scooting. Many towns were calling for stricter regulations and clearer rules around the two-wheelers before this incident, so the hundreds of drunk Oktoberfest riders could very well be the last straw.