Sunset Scooters finds lucrative niche: 'DUI Scooters'


A pair or Clearwater, Fla., entrepreneurs has found a niche that is helping their scooter shop thrive: Getting motorists convicted of DUIs back on the road at low speed.

Doug Vitello and Gary Parr encountered a lot of customers looking for a way to get around after falling afoul of the law. They did their homework and found X-Treme scooters, an electric moped made in China and distributed from California, that fall below Florida’s threshold requiring a driver’s license because they only reach 20 mph.

They put a sign in their window:


With little other advertising, word got around that Sunset Scooters offered an option. Now they sell about 10 scooters a month. The shop gives customers copies of the law, recommending they keep it handy in case of traffic stops.

"At first, we had some trouble with law enforcement basically not understanding what these were," Vitello told the St. Petersburg Times. "Even some judges were completely mystified. But now they all seem to be on board."

The scooters sell for $1,200 to $2,000 and are popular with people who are running out of options. But not everyone is happy about the pitch.

"It's disappointing that they'd market them as 'DUI scooters,' " Todd Rosenbaum, executive director of the Northwest Florida chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told the newspaper. "Certainly, if people need transportation, electric bikes are a good option. But calling them DUI scooters sends the wrong message to the community. It's telling people the DUI is not a big deal. It is a big deal."

But the people at Sunset Scooters also warn buyers: Drunken bicycling is also illegal.

Posted by Holly Wagner