Paris votes on whether to ban rental e-scooters

Riding e-scooters with others is illegal but common on the streets of Paris

Riding e-scooters with other people is illegal but common on the streets of Paris.

Voters in Paris will decide on Sunday whether to expel rental electric scooters from the streets of the French capital, which pioneered the adoption of a divisive new form of urban transport. turn.

The City of Lights once welcomed companies like Lime, Dott or Tier and their rental scooters are very popular. youth to cover close distance.

After the introduction of chaos in 2018, the city government has gradually tightened regulations, creating designated parking areas, limiting maximum speed and limiting the number of drivers.

But their presence remains controversial, with pedestrians complaining about careless driving while a series of deadly crashes have highlighted the dangers of vehicles that can now be rented by children as young as 12.

“Scooters have become my biggest enemy. I’m afraid of them,” Suzon Lambert, a 50-year-old teacher and Paris resident, told AFP. “Paris has become a kind of chaos. There’s no room for pedestrians.”

Such views are likely to prevail in 21 polling stations set up around the French capital on Sunday, with the activity seen as “public consultation” rather than a referendum. by Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

The pro-cycling Socialist party leader announced a vote in January to resolve the issue of whether they should be allowed.

She supported the ban, calling the devices “a source of stress and anxiety” for Parisians in an interview with AFP on Thursday.

The consultation will not affect private ownership electric scooterof which 700,000 were sold nationwide last year, according to carriage Ministry data.

Around 100,000 journeys are completed every day in France by e-scooters rented in around 200 towns and cities.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has promoted cycling and bike sharing but supports a ban on e-scooters

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has promoted cycling and bike sharing but supports a ban on e-scooters.

Watched abroad

Transport Minister Clement Beaune hopes the poll will lead to a ban, while some operators are also concerned about negative results unless their mostly young users vote.

“This is an important consultation that will be followed by many other towns in France and abroad,” Beaune told Europe 1 radio on Wednesday. “I feel ashamed that we have caricatured and silenced the debate.

“Instead of using the words ‘for’ or ‘against’, we can use the word ‘for, with rules,'” he said.

He argues that e-scooters are a valuable new transport solution that has replaced up to a fifth of journeys in Paris previously associated with emission-producing vehicles.

A total of 1.6 million people are eligible to vote, but turnout is expected to be low. Results are expected to be announced in the evening.

The ban will be an obstacle for operators and may encourage other cities to follow suit, but the companies insist they are expanding elsewhere.

“Paris is going against the current,” Hadi Karam, general manager of France at California-based Lime, told AFP, citing decisions to increase the number of e-scooters or extend contracts in Washington, Madrid or London.

“There is a trend towards these vehicles and the trend started in Paris, where it was pioneered,” he said. “Today everyone else is convinced and Paris is deciding to take a step in the other direction. It’s confusing for us.”

The vote also focused attention on the environmental profile of e-scooters amid debate over whether they help reduce emissions, as in most cases they replace the that previously had to walk or use public transport.

Their batteries also have a short lifespan, averaging around three years, according to the Department of Transportation.

“We think it’s a useful device,” Tony Renucci, head of the charity Respire, which works to reduce air pollution, told AFP. “We should preserve it, not ban it.”

© 2023 AFP

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