Aug 29, 2023

Paris Becomes One of the Only European Cities to Ban E-Scooters

Paris will this week become one of the only cities in Europe with an outright ban on rented e-scooters — as operators plan to ramp up their e-bike fleets to replace them ahead of the 2024 Olympics.

Despite previously expressing hopes for a last-minute reprieve, the three firms with e-scooter operating licenses in the French capital, Lime, Dott and Tier, all confirmed that they will have removed their scooters, or trottinettes, by the Sept. 1 deadline.

They had a combined fleet of roughly 15,000 e-scooters in the city. A referendum held in April gave Parisians two choices regarding the rental scooters: for or against.

Numerous urban areas have already imposed restrictions on e-scooters, primarily entailing controls on speed limits and penalties for improper parking.

Nevertheless, some major cities, such as Prague, still permit riding without helmets on sidewalks and bustling thoroughfares. Additionally, riders often engage in two-abreast riding or operate the scooters under the influence of alcohol.

Consequently, the City Council of Prague is engaged in discussions to tighten traffic regulations and oversee these potential traffic hazards. However, a comprehensive ban does not appear to be under consideration.

In Europe, Madrid this year reversed a prior ban to allow rental firms back with new conditions, as Copenhagen also did in 2021. Most e-scooters are banned on public roads in the bike-loving Netherlands, and no ride-sharing companies have entered the market.

Public roads in the Netherlands remain off-limits to electric scooters due to the prevalence of private bicycles. As a result, no ride-sharing enterprise has dared to establish a presence there.

Valère Rousseau, a Parisian working in the heritage sector, said he thought the public was more accepting of e-bikes as a useful mode of travel.

“E-scooters are different. They are very appreciated by young people but disliked by Parisians because parking is still an issue and it remains dangerous — no helmet, sometimes on the pavement,” he told CNBC.

Similar challenges arise from electric vehicles in the Czech Republic and other European cities, leading to accidents involving pedestrians and motorists.

Jana Krejčí Merxbauerová, a spokesperson for Prague’s Motol Hospital, has noted an increase in accidents involving electric scooters over recent years.

“Common injuries include falls directly from electric scooters, resulting in concussions and fractures.”

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