Paris says adieu to rental e-scooter, Brussels to follow?

In Paris, one of 15 000 shared e-scooters can be ridden for the last time today. From September 1st, they will be banned from the French capital, a result of the outcome of a binding referendum held in April.

The rental e-scooters were said to cause too much chaos on pavements and unsafe traffic situations. After five years, rental e-scooters ended, to the dismay of many users. In Brussels, too, some would like to see such a ban; 91% of respondents to a survey by the newspaper La Dernière Heure favor a total ban.

Moving appliances

During the contested referendum in Paris, 7% of the 1,6 million eligible voters voted. Over 89% voted for a ban from September 1st on self-service e-scooters, or trottinettes – privately owned scooters will not be banned.

Since August, Lime, Tier, and Dott’s 15 000 e-scooters have been gradually taken off the streets – only a handful were still available on Thursday, mainly in central Paris – to be used in other cities.

Of the 5 000 e-scooters deployed by German company Tier, a third remain in the Paris region, in 80 communes around Marne-la-Vallée or Sant-Germain-en-Laye. The rest go mainly to Germany.

An Estonian company, Dott, sends its e-scooters to Belgium and Tel Aviv. The green e-scooters from the Californian company Lime go to Lille, London, Copenhagen, and several German cities.

No layoffs for now

According to the operators of these micro-mobility platforms, some 400 000 people chose an e-scooter to get around in 2022. They count on their customers to switch to their shared e-bikes, which should allow them to avoid layoffs, at least for now. Only at Dott, which will transfer only about 10 of its 50 employees from e-scooters to e-bikes, is a redundancy protection plan (PSE) in the works.

“This is a big turning point for Tier, but instead of cherishing nostalgia, we prefer to look forward,” says Clément Petty, head of the company’s operations in France, referring to the 5 000 bikes still available. “The development of cycling is booming with exciting prospects,” confirms Lime, which offers 10 000 bikes.

91% of DH readers favor the ban in Brussels

Although getting around on an e-scooter is not the same as cycling, the bicycle is an alternative for tourists. “But it’s not the same, it’s bigger and heavier… it’s not so agile,” complains Amanda Rollins, an American influencer with 740 000 subscribers on TikTok and a great fan of e-scooters.

In Brussels, you can still freely use a rental e-scooter, but the rules have been tightened, and from January 1st, 2024, their supply will be limited to a maximum of 8 000, compared to 20 000 today. However, many Brussels residents would prefer otherwise, at least if La Dernière Heure newspaper is to be believed.

According to that referendum, the newspaper surveyed its readers, and 91% of the participants also favored a ban like in Paris. However, the newspaper’s approach is debatable. There is no mention of the number of participants, age group, etc.

Uccle would rather not see them

Moreover, e-scooters are not banned in New York, London, Madrid, Rome, and Copenhagen, as DH writes. It was true in Copenhagen for a while, but they have been allowed again.

As in any city where rental e-scooters are used, there has been a pushback in regulations in these cities due to the nuisance and rising number of accidents. Still, Paris and Amsterdam are the only European capitals to ban this means of transport.

DH argues that fewer politicians still support the use of e-scooters. The newspaper writes that most of them are convinced they must be forbidden. And they cite the mayor of Uccle, Boris Dilliès (MR).

Recently, he has ordered to have all the badly parked e-scooters removed. This resulted in administrative penalties of 250 euros per machine to be paid by the operators. Since then, most of the operators have deactivated the Uccle zone. Their users can still use it but can no longer park there.

‘Pure electioneering’

Dilliès finds the new regulation of the Brussels Region concerning the drop zones incomprehensible because it “dispatches the problem back to the municipalities, which will be responsible for developing and enforcing these drop zones.” He sees the plan as pure electioneering “because we don’t want to offend a certain public”. To be clear, most e-scooter users in Brussels are mainly young people.

The newspaper also quotes an emergency doctor at a significant Brussels hospital, saying that in his department, “half of the doctors are in favor of a ban” because of the many accidents related to e-scooters. However, the figures have fallen since introducing a stricter framework in July 2022.

The responsibility to avoid a ban lies with the user. If they behave recklessly on the road or keep parking badly, calls for a ban will continue to echo.


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