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Indianapolis EMS: 30 percent of scooter accidents happen while drunk

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – There have been several dozen people injured on scooters.

Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services have taken them to the hospital with a variety of injuries.

What has some people shocked is the number of people getting hurt riding scooters while drunk. 

Since September, Indianapolis EMS has taken 63 people to the hospital for injuries on scooters. In all, 19 of them were drunk. That does not take into account any walk-ins at hospitals. 

“It does surprise me there have been well over a dozen already,” said Scott Dangerfield, a manager at Metro Nightclub and Restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue in downtown Indianapolis. 

Dangerfield said he has not noticed this issue yet but often sees scooter riders disobeying city rules for scooters. Those rules include not riding on the sidewalk. 

“If there are not only people who are breaking ordinances but also doing it under the influence, it’s going to be a real bad incident that’s going to be a real bad accident,” he said. 

When you can go around 20 mph the injuries can be serious. Indianapolis EMS has seen plenty of broken bones from falls.

Beyond that law experts and Indianapolis EMS say the penalty is an OWI for riding a scooter drunk. That can net you a hefty fine and some jail time. 

“They are motorized vehicles and should be treated as such, very much like a vehicle,” said Brian Van Bokkelen, the spokesman for Indianapolis EMS. 

But, some believe people view the two differently.

“A lot people especially after drinking are looking at it for fun,” Dangerfield said. 

Experts in the medical field recognize scooters can be fun, affordable and eco-friendly. They also said want you to be smart and careful. 

“Even though the scooter may not be the most dangerous piece of equipment, you’re still in an urban environment where there are cars and there are other pedestrians and there are other scooters,” said Dr. Kris Nanagas, a toxicologist at IU Health

Nanagas said when you’re drinking and your reaction time worsens, those risks are amplified. 

Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department did not get back to News 8 with any numbers on any criminal charges from scooter accidents. News 8 also reached out to the two scooter companies in Indianapolis, Bird and Lime. If they respond, their comments will be added to this story.