For those who love to hop on a scooter, zip around the city, get some fresh air and not rely on waiting for public transport, we’ve got some bad news. As of today (September 1), rentable e-scooters are officially banned in Paris.
It’s been five years since the French capital opened up the shared e-scooter market (the first European city to do so), and it’s been three years since complaints led to strong regulations being implemented due to safety concerns — the strictest in the world.
But yesterday, the last few of the 15,000 bikes were removed from Paris’s streets. Some might describe it as the end of an era, but it seems like it's come as a bit of a relief.
The e-scooters, available to hire from three different rental companies in Paris, were very popular with students and those under 35. However, they’ve been at the centre of controversy since they first became available.
Safety concerns were routinely raised by politicians, and many pedestrians in Paris found the presence of the e-scooters stressful. The way they were left abandoned on the streets was even described as ‘anarchic’, and in 2020, speed limits and a restriction on the number of operators being able to rent out the vehicles were put in place.
Despite the extra measures, a number of accidents continued to be attributed to the careless use of e-scooters, leading mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo to hold a referendum in April to determine their future in the city.
The turnout was super low, with only 7.5 percent of Parisians attending the city hall vote, but 90 percent of those who did were in favour of the ban. The vote meant that August 31 was the last day of e-scootering in Paris.
It’s expected that former e-scooter riders might turn to cycling instead, and bikes for hire are already available from the same operators. The hope is that the transition will limit the number of redundancies each company needs to make while making Paris’s streets a safer place for pedestrians. However, according to euronews, tourists have complained that bikes are ‘not so agile,’.
Looks like we might have to settle for a good old-fashioned stroll instead.
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