People living in the Jesmond area had complained about antisocial riders. One – George Richardson – caught in the early hours of February 25 was almost four times the drink-drive limit, North Tyneside magistrates heard. Kate Matthews, defending two of the students, said even some members of the legal profession did not know the scooters were covered by the same drink-drive rules as other motorised vehicles.
The scooters were free to ride overnight at the time, she said, and people needed a provisional licence and to read terms and conditions – something they were unlikely to do in the early hours.
She said the hire firm running the scheme had now stopped their use overnight.
Sophie Allinson, defending another two of the students, said one had “simply not appreciated that these are not toys”.
John Crawford, representing another, said the e-scooters had a top speed of 10-15mph, adding: “The risk they pose is significantly lower than that of a car.”
The cases were heard separately and five of the defendants admitted drink-driving. JosephVesey, 22, of Jesmond, was banned from driving for 12 months and ordered to pay £239 in fines and costs.
Jamie Swain, 21, of Jesmond, was banned for six months and ordered to pay £319.
Rian Dunne, 20, of Jesmond, admitted failing to provide a specimen. He was banned from driving for 12 months and must pay £239.
George Richardson, 20, of Newcastle, was banned for 30 months and ordered to pay £319.
William Attridge, 19, of Newcastle, was banned for 18 months and must pay £239.
William McMullen, 19, of Newcastle, was banned for 12 months and ordered to pay £239.