Paris votes to ban rental electric scooters — could your city be next?

4 April 2023

Sacré bleu! Paris residents have overwhelmingly voted to ban the use of rental electric scooters within France‘s capital city.

More than 100,000 votes were cast in the referendum, with 89% voting in favor of banning the popular e-scooters, which can travel up to 17 mph and can be legally rented by children as young as 12.

While the referendum verdict is nonbinding, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said that she was “committed to respecting the results of the vote.” 

Hidalgo added that once the current contracts of e-scooter operators in the city have expired at the end of August, “there will be no more self-service scooters in Paris.”

The mayor hailed the vote as a “victory for local democracy.” Privately owned e-scooters will still be allowed. 

A rider on a rental electric scooter in Paris. BENJAMIN GIRETTE/BLOOMBERG/GETTY IMAGES

Paris has been one of the largest markets in the world for electric rental scooters after the mode of transport first cropped up in the city in 2018.

In 2022 alone, the city recorded around 20 million trips on more than 15,000 rental scooters, according to The New York Times

Critics have often questioned the safety and proper use of electric scooters. According to France’s road traffic and safety delegation Securite Routiere, 34 people died last year in e-scooter-related incidents, with 570 others seriously injured. 

Related: Everything you need to know about e-scooters

Initially, e-scooter operations were viewed as a convenient and more climate-friendly alternative to public transport. More recently, Parisians have come to see the electrical scooter market as dangerous and, according to Hidalgo, “a nuisance.” 

Nicolas Gorse, chief business officer of e-scooter operator Dott, took aim at the ban in a recent interview on RMC radio. 

“The real consequence is for our 400,000 monthly users, for the 800 employees of Dott in Paris,” he said. “Then it’s also for the residents since mathematically speaking, if we subtract the scooters, it’s more saturation in public transport and more individual vehicles.”

Paris isn’t the only European city wrestling with the safe use of battery-powered vehicles.

In January, the Barcelona Metropolitan Transport Authority enforced a six-month ban on e-scooters and unicycles being taken on board local public transport. In 2016, Barcelona also banned their use in historic parts of the city.

Additionally, Copenhagen enforced a full ban on electric scooters in 2020. The following year, it reversed the ruling and reintroduced the controversial mode of transport with stricter safety guidelines. 

Rome has also clamped down, imposing new rules around electric scooter use following an increased number of crashes and other related incidents. 

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