Paris Turns into the First European Capital to Ban Rented Electrical 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 couple of years again, was luxuriating within the calm of her neighborhood.
She didn’t come throughout a single particular person on an e-scooter.
Paris grew to become the primary European capital to outlaw the autos on Friday, following a vote in April by which Parisiens overwhelmingly supported a ban, though turnout was low. Privately owned e-scooters, which town can’t regulate, are exempt.
“I’m all the time scared once I see one,” Ms. Moreno mentioned. “I bought off with only a scratch once I was knocked over, however I’m scared that the subsequent 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 autos typically stayed in authorized limbo as officers mapped out charters for e-scooter operators, capped fleets and controlled parking.
Late-night staff specifically mentioned they’d 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 which means that if I end work at 2 a.m., I can’t take an e-scooter residence?” he requested. He mentioned he appreciated how briskly his trip residence was on an e-scooter in the midst of the night time. Empty streets meant he may make it residence in minutes, regardless of dwelling 4 miles from his office.
He mentioned he had by no means seen the scooters trigger any drawback on the road the place he works, the Rue Mouffetard, one of the crucial in style locations for avenue meals in Paris. However he understood the safety issues.
One other restaurant employee, Marius Henry, who works in a preferred bistro close to the Place de la République, mentioned he commonly used e-scooters to go residence after late-night shifts, when Paris’s metro system is closed. “I can’t take a taxi residence as a result of they’re too costly, so e-scooters are good,” he mentioned. “They usually’re extra enjoyable than bikes.”
However those that help the ban consider it is going to make streets extra peaceable.
“I’ve taken e-scooters twice, however nonetheless, I voted towards them, for the nice of my metropolis,” mentioned Félix Ranson, a 22-year-old economics pupil who bikes to his college on daily basis. “I’d moderately town enhance the bike service than have scooters take over the sidewalks.”
David Belliard, the deputy mayor answerable for transportation in Paris, agreed. “We’re concentrating on making it simpler to stroll or bike by means of Paris,” he mentioned. “E-scooters had been creating a whole lot of nuisance.”
E-scooters, whether or not rented or personally owned, killed three individuals and wounded 459 others in 2022, in accordance with the Paris police headquarters. However France’s largest risk-prevention affiliation, Prévention Routière, mentioned it could have most well-liked that town focus on helmet use and the regulation of rides at night time, when most accidents occur, moderately than a ban.
“Banning shared e-scooters received’t change the way in which individuals behave,” mentioned Anne Lavaud, the chief of Prévention Routière.
The Metropolis of Paris mentioned it could open virtually 25 extra miles of motorcycle 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’d redeploy their scooters in cities the place fleets are increasing, in France or overseas.
“Since Paris voted to ban e-scooters, we’ve received 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 just not endangering our enterprise mannequin.”
As Paris was banning e-scooters, European cities of comparable dimension, like Berlin, threw their weight behind the gadgets. Berlin has 5 scooter operators and 40,000 registered e-scooters zooming throughout town. “There’s all the time extra,” the Berliner Zeitung, an area information outlet, just lately commented.
The vote in Paris initially resonated in different French cities at a time when many had been questioning how tightly to manage the gadgets. Simply after the vote, officers in Marseille, France’s second-largest metropolis, mentioned they had been contemplating the same vote. Finally, they dropped the concept, leaving Paris an outlier.
“Paris has an distinctive public transport system and loads of bike lanes,” mentioned Audrey Gatian, the deputy mayor for transportation in Marseille. “The scenario is totally different right here.” In Marseille, she believes, e-scooters play an important function in correcting the uneven distribution of public transport and in lowering the reliance on vehicles.
Lime, the biggest scooter operator in Paris, mentioned it could 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 could attempt to provide its staff jobs in French cities like Lille, the place operations are increasing. “It’s a painful course of,” Mr. Gorse mentioned. However mentioned he was relieved that the Metropolis Corridor and his firm now shared a single goal.
“Everybody agrees on ramping up the bike service, particularly with the Paris Olympics subsequent summer season,” he mentioned.
Aurelien Breeden contributed reporting.
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