Paris considers banning electric scooters for safety reasons

PARIS, Nov 15 (Reuters) – Paris is considering banning its 15,000 rental electric scooters due to public safety concerns on the city’s sidewalks, but operators are proposing a series of improvements in the hope of getting renewed their licenses.

The mayor of Paris plans not to renew the licenses of the three operators – Lime, Dott and Tier – which expire in February 2023. Its vote is only advisory and the decision, expected in the coming weeks, belongs to the mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo.

Deputy Mayor David Belliard, a Green Party politician in charge of transport in Paris, told Le Parisien newspaper last week that the nuisance caused by scooters now outweighs the benefits to the city.

“In terms of safety, the environment and sharing public space, it would be complicated to continue,” he said.

In 2021, 24 people died in scooter-related accidents in France, including one in Paris. This year, Paris recorded 337 accidents with electric scooters and similar vehicles in the first eight months of the year, compared to 247 over the same period in 2021.

Cities around the world are tightening regulations on electric scooters, limiting the number of operators and restricting their speed and the number of areas where they can park.

Electric scooters accessible via smartphone apps have been operating in Paris since 2018, but following complaints about their anarchic deployment, in 2020 Paris reduced the number of operators to three. He gave them a three-year contract, demanded that the speed of scooters be capped at 20 km/hour, and imposed designated parking areas for scooters.

Operators have proposed other regulations, including identity checks to ensure users are over 18, fixing number plates to scooters so police can identify traffic violators and prevent the carriage of more than one passenger.

“If Paris accepts our proposals, it would become the city with the strictest scooter regulations in the world,” said Garance Lefevre, director of public affairs at Lime.

The three companies say the scooters offer a low-carbon alternative to crowded subways and polluting cars.

Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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