Parisians will vote on Sunday whether to ban electric scooters for rent from the city’s streets, which would be a first for a major city in the world, as per AFP. The electric scooters, which can be rented through an app like Lime, Dott, or Tier, were initially introduced in Paris and are popular among young people as an alternative to public transportation for short distances.
Erwann Le Page, public affairs director at Tier, a Berlin-based operator, stated that the vote holds symbolic significance, given that Paris was one of the first cities to adopt the electric scooters. However, authorities have tightened the rules since the chaotic rollout in 2018, including the designation of parking areas, maximum speed caps, and operator number limits.
Despite these measures, the scooters are still controversial, with complaints from pedestrians regarding careless driving, and deadly incidents involving children as young as 12 who are permitted to rent them. Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo proposed a poll in January to decide whether or not for-hire scooters should be permitted after facing criticism for violating traffic regulations in the city. The pro-cycling Socialist, who favours a ban, referred to the vehicles as a ‘source of worry’ in Parisians’ daily life.
Parisians who wish to vote must be on the voter lists and physically travel to one of the 21 polling places spread out over the city. Transport Minister Clement Beaune expects a ban, and several operators discreetly worry about a negative outcome if their primary young user base does not vote. ‘It’s an important consultation that will be watched by a lot of other towns in France and overseas,’ said Beaune in an interview with the Europe 1 radio station on Wednesday. ‘I find it a shame that we have caricatured and dumbed down the debate. Instead of having it as ‘for’ or ‘against,’ we could do ‘for, with rules’.’