Paris Becomes the First European Capital to Ban Rented Electric Scooters

As Paris’s experiment with e-scooters got here to an finish on Friday, Anne-Marie Moreno set out on her morning stroll feeling just a bit extra peaceable. Ms. Moreno, a 78-year-old retiree who was knocked over by a person using an electrical scooter a number of years again, was luxuriating within the calm of her neighborhood.

She didn’t come throughout a single individual on an e-scooter.

Paris grew to become the primary European capital to outlaw the automobiles on Friday, following a vote in April wherein Parisians overwhelmingly supported a ban, though turnout was low. Privately owned e-scooters, which the town can not regulate, are exempt.

“I’m always scared when I see one,” Ms. Moreno mentioned. “I got off with just a scratch when I was knocked over, but I’m scared that the next time I fall, I’ll crack my head in two.” Her husband nodded subsequent to her as vehicles, mopeds and bikes zoomed previous a busy intersection on the Place du Général Leclerc in southern Paris.

Since their eruption onto the streets and sidewalks of cities internationally in 2019, e-scooters have posed distinctive regulatory issues for metropolis officers. The automobiles usually stayed in authorized limbo as officers mapped out charters for e-scooter operators, capped fleets and controlled parking.

Late-night staff specifically mentioned they might miss them.

On Friday morning, Abbas Hamy, 36, was neatly aligning falafels on the rim of an open-air fryer in his Lebanese sandwich store. He wasn’t conscious of the ban. “So this means that if I finish work at 2 a.m., I can’t take an e-scooter home?” he requested. He mentioned he favored how briskly his journey house was on an e-scooter in the course of the evening. Empty streets meant he may make it house in minutes, regardless of dwelling about 4 miles from his office.

He mentioned he had by no means seen the scooters trigger any downside on the road the place he works, the Rue Mouffetard, probably the most fashionable locations for road meals in Paris. However he understood the safety issues.

One other restaurant employee, Marius Henry, who works in a bistro close to the Place de la République, mentioned he usually used e-scooters to go house after late-night shifts, when Paris’s metro system is closed. “I can’t take a taxi home because they’re too expensive, so e-scooters are perfect,” he mentioned. “And they’re more fun than bikes.”

However those that help the ban consider it should make streets extra peaceable.

“I’ve taken e-scooters twice, but still, I voted against them, for the good of my city,” mentioned Félix Ranson, a 22-year-old economics scholar who bikes to his college day by day. “I’d rather the city improve the bike service than have scooters take over the sidewalks.”

David Belliard, the deputy mayor in command of transportation in Paris, agreed. “We’re concentrating on making it easier to walk or bike through Paris,” he mentioned. “E-scooters were creating a lot of nuisance.”

E-scooters, whether or not rented or personally owned, killed three folks and wounded 459 others in 2022, in keeping with the Paris police headquarters. However France’s largest risk-prevention affiliation, Prévention Routière, mentioned it will have most well-liked that the town consider helmet use and the regulation of rides at evening, when most accidents occur, quite than a ban.

“Banning shared e-scooters won’t change the way people behave,” mentioned Anne Lavaud, the chief of Prévention Routière.

The Metropolis of Paris mentioned it will open nearly 25 extra miles of motorbike lanes this 12 months, and e-scooter operators have bolstered their e-bike fleets in current months in anticipation of the ban. They mentioned they might redeploy their scooters in cities the place fleets are increasing, in France or overseas.

“Since Paris voted to ban e-scooters, we’ve won permits or had permits renewed in London, Rome and Madrid,” mentioned Nicolas Gorse, the final director of Dott, considered one of three e-scooter operators in Paris. “The ban is not endangering our business model.”

As Paris was banning e-scooters, European cities of comparable measurement, like Berlin, threw their weight behind the units. Berlin has 5 scooter operators and 40,000 registered e-scooters zooming throughout the town. “There’s always more,” the Berliner Zeitung, an area information outlet, not too long ago commented.

The vote in Paris initially resonated in different French cities at a time when many have been questioning how tightly to manage the units. Simply after the vote, officers in Marseille, France’s second-largest metropolis, mentioned they have been contemplating an analogous vote. In the end, they dropped the thought, leaving Paris an outlier.

“Paris has an exceptional public transport system and plenty of bike lanes,” mentioned Audrey Gatian, the deputy mayor for transportation in Marseille. “The situation is different here.” In Marseille, she believes, e-scooters play an important position in correcting the uneven distribution of public transport and in reducing the reliance on vehicles.

Lime, the biggest scooter operator in Paris, mentioned it will not hearth anybody because of the ban. However Dott, the second-largest operator, mentioned it deliberate to fireplace 50 of its full-time staff and 50 of the seasonal staff it normally recruits when demand soars in summer season.

Dott mentioned it will attempt to provide its staff jobs in French cities like Lille, the place operations are increasing. “It is a painful process,” Mr. Gorse mentioned. However mentioned he was relieved that the Metropolis Corridor and his firm now shared a single goal.

“Everyone agrees on ramping up the bike service, especially with the Paris Olympics next summer,” he mentioned.

Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting.

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