Parisians will have to go to the polling stations in their arrondissements to vote for or against keeping shared e-scooters on April 2nd. Paris City Hall has announced this. Parisian e-scooter operators have denounced this decision and the organization by the city council of this unprecedented vote or referendum, in ballot boxes and not online.
A national regulation plan has also been announced for the end of February, as more and more municipalities, fed up with the incivilities of users, want to regulate the use of shared e-scooters more strictly.
E-scooter operators are denouncing the decision because this vote would exclude “young people who, as we know, do not participate much in elections and are the first to shun the ballot box,” they stressed in a statement.
Young people are also the primary users of these e-scooters, with an average age of 33. In France, you can use an e-scooter from the age of 12. The town hall would also exclude “people with reduced mobility, who are overweight or ill,” according to the operators.
In addition, the operators claim that most Parisians under the age of 65 are opposed to a ban, based on a petition and survey.
Pain points remain
In an interview with Le Parisien on January 15th, PS Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she favored “stopping” shared e-scooters. “But I will respect the vote of Parisians,” she said.
Last September, the mayor’s office threatened the three operators French-Dutch Dott, Californian Lime, and German Tier, which have a fleet of 15 000 vehicles, with the possibility of not renewing their contract, which expires at the end of March. But before that, there were already threats not to renew contracts.
New rules also came in at the end of November: the shared e-scooters must be parked in specific spaces, and their speed is limited to 20 km/hour everywhere in the city and 10 km/hour in 700 dense areas. Operators also introduced new measures, including registration of e-scooters, age checks on users, and increased patrols against badly parked vehicles.
National regulation plan
But it did not make a big difference. In general, not only has the number of accidents involving users of e-scooters increased, but many users continue to disrespect traffic codes by riding by two or on the pavement, for example, while the devices are still lying around and thus pose a danger to pedestrians.
Therefore, Paris is questioning the “cost/benefit ratio” of shared e-scooters and their “environmental cost, ” said David Belliard, the Deputy for Mobility and Roads.
At the same time, the French government is leaning toward a “regulation plan” for shared e-scooters at the national level, with more controls and “precautionary measures”.
Although more and more French people are using e-scooters, the number of deaths among users is increasing yearly: 22 deaths were recorded in 2021, compared with 10 in 2019 and 7 in 2020.
Ban or restrict?
Paris is not the only city in the world struggling with these popular micro-mobility platforms. Brussels is also tightening the rules, and in Barcelona and Montreal, these shard e-scooters have even been completely banned.
In Lisbon, their number will soon be halved, and their speed reduced to 20 km/hour. The regulation negotiated by the Portuguese capital’s city council with the five operators concerned aims to limit the inconvenience and accidents associated with their use, as cities like Stockholm and Oslo have already done.
“It’s no use banning because a whole generation wants this mode of transport,” Lisbon Mayor Carlos Modes told AFP. At the same time, “no city has a happy experience with e-scooters. We are all looking for a solution,” he added.
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