Paris residents have overwhelmingly voted in favor of a ban on rental electric scooters in the city, with almost 90% of votes cast supporting the move. The referendum was called in response to growing concerns over the safety risks posed by e-scooters. Critics have argued that e-scooters were causing more harm than good in the city, with a rising number of injuries and fatalities being linked to their use. There were also concerns over the way people were driving the scooters, with many weaving through traffic and dodging pedestrians on pavements, while getting up to speeds of 17mph.
Another problem associated with e-scooters was the way they were being parked, with groups of the vehicles cluttering pavements and creating obstacles for pedestrians. In addition, riders often did not wear helmets, and children as young as 12 were legally allowed to hire the e-scooters. In 2021, a 31-year-old Italian woman was killed in Paris after being hit by an e-scooter carrying two people. She fell and hit her head on the pavement, suffering a cardiac arrest.
Despite the concerns, the three main e-scooter operators – Lime, Dott, and Tier – had urged people to vote in their favour, offering free rides all day on Sunday to encourage their customers to participate. However, the ban was supported by Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who called for the referendum in January to allow the people to decide. Hidalgo, a pro-cycling Socialist leader, argued that e-scooters were expensive, unsustainable, and the cause of many accidents in the city.
The ban on rental e-scooters has dealt a blow to scooter operators and a triumph for road safety campaigners. The move will make Paris one of the few major cities to prohibit rental e-scooters, although privately-owned vehicles were not part of the vote. E-scooters have become increasingly popular in cities around the world, with many cities embracing the vehicles as a cheap and eco-friendly mode of transportation. However, the safety risks posed by the vehicles have been a major concern, with accidents and injuries often linked to their use.
New laws introduced in 2019 imposed a fine of €135 for e-scooter riders caught breaking traffic rules, while riding without high visibility clothing and going over the speed limit can result in fines of up to €1,500. However, the laws failed to curb the rising number of accidents and injuries, prompting the referendum on rental e-scooters in Paris. The ban is expected to take effect later this year, with rental e-scooters set to be removed from the city’s streets.