2 e-scooter riders killed after getting hit from behind by car in Jakarta, police say driver was under influence of alcohol

Grab Indonesia’s e-scooter sharing service Grabwheels. Photo: Grab Indonesia
Grab Indonesia’s e-scooter sharing service Grabwheels. Photo: Grab Indonesia

Two e-scooter riders were killed in a collision with a car in Jakarta, in what has become the first fatal incident involving the increasingly controversial electric vehicles.

Related: Jakarta gov’t warns public against using electric scooters on pedestrian bridge after photos of damages go viral 

According to reports, a group of six friends rented a couple of e-scooters by ride-hailing app Grab, named GrabWheels, from near FX Sudirman mall at 1am on Sunday. They were riding the personal mobility devices on the leftmost lane — the closest to the sidewalk — when a Toyota Camry, driven by a man identified by his initials DH, hit them from behind in his attempt to overtake another vehicle from the left.

Two of the e-scooter riders, identified as 18-year-olds Wisnu and Ammar, were killed, while four others were injured.

Yesterday, the Jakarta Metro Police announced that they have named DH a suspect, though investigators have yet to determine whether or not to put him in police custody for the time being.

“We will charge him with violation of Article 310 and Article 311 [of Law no. 22/2009 on Traffic and Road Vehicles],” Commissioner Fahri Siregar, who heads Jakarta Metro Police’s Traffic Law Enforcement Division, told reporters yesterday, as quoted by Kompas.

Under the aforementioned law, vehicular manslaughter is a crime punishable by up to 12 years in prison. Article 311 contains a deliberate negligent driving clause, which, in the past, have been argued to include DUIs.

Fahri said that DH was driving under the influence of alcohol at the time of the incident. Right after the collision, DH and his passenger got out of the car to provide assistance to the victims and hailed a car to help bring them to the hospital.

Rudy Yohanes, the father of Ammar, one of the deceased victims, said he believes that DH is the son of a government official. He said that DH’s mother has apologized and attended Ammar’s wake and funeral with a personal aide.

“We didn’t ask for it, but she paid for the hospital bills. Her aide told me that she would pay for it,” Rudy told Kompas yesterday.

Regulations on the way

GrabWheels was launched earlier this year to become the first e-scooter for rent service in Indonesia. It quickly became popular among youths in Jakarta and Tangerang — mostly for recreational purposes — before officials were able to draft regulations on the electric vehicles.

Jakarta’s Transport Agency says it is currently drafting regulations regarding e-scooters in light of the first fatal incident involving e-scooters in the city. Recently, the agency has issued a ban of e-scooters on public facilities such as pedestrian bridges, sidewalks, as well as car-free day on Sudirman-Thamrin every Sunday – but users are allowed to ride on the city’s bicycle lanes.

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