Daniel L. Felker was charged with driving while intoxicated in August 2018 in upstate Oneida County. He was on a riding lawn mower. Barry Adams did the same a month later in Jefferson County and was sentenced to a year in jail. And before either one of them hit the road after allegedly hitting the bottle, Jonathon D. Loomis added a special kind of sparkle to his Fourth of July by getting charged with DWI after being pulled over on a golf cart in Western New York’s Cattaraugus County.
It’s long been state law that you can be charged with driving under the influence on any kind of motor vehicle, however it’s powered and however slow it is, including go-karts, snowmobiles and electric wheelchairs, as well as boats.
And yet, as the state eyes legalizing electric scooters and throttle-assist bikes — you know, the things your food delivery man terrorized everyone on the road with to bring you dinner — lawmakers and Gov. Cuomo are looking to carve out an exemption. They want to make it so riders of these vehicles can only be charged with DWI or driving while ability impaired if there is a collision. And they’re prepared to do it by sneaking the law through as part of the state budget, just as they did with the disastrous no-bail “reform” rammed through last year.
Why this exemption? Cuomo and the lawmakers pushing for it refuse to say. Maybe they fear unauthorized immigrants would be charged and get the feds’ attention. It’s impossible to know, as their press offices clammed up when asked.
We do not believe it should be legal to ride e-bikes and scooters drunk and hope you’ll tell your lawmakers that you agree.