Paris vote against the for-hire scooters from streets of the French capital blows hard on the operators and and victory for campaigners. Following a public consultation organised by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the residents of the City of Light were asked to express their opinion on e-scooter services provided by apps like Lime. The outcome of the referendum revealed that nearly 90% of the votes cast were against the use of these widespread devices. As a result, the City of Light, which was once a pioneer in embracing e-scooter services, is now set to become the only major European capital to outlaw them.
“We’re happy. It’s what we’ve been fighting for over four years,” said Arnaud Kielbasa, co-founder of the Apacauvi charity, which represents victims of e-scooter accidents. “All Parisians say they are nervous on the pavements, nervous when they cross the roads. You need to look everywhere,” Kielbasa, whose wife and infant daughter were hit by an e-scooter driver, told AFP. “That’s why they’ve voted against them.”
E-scooter operators in Paris feel they are being unfairly blamed for the chaotic state of the city’s streets. Since coming to power in 2014, Mayor Hidalgo has promoted non-emitting modes of transport like bikes and e-scooters. The city administration initially welcomed e-scooter operators in 2018, but it has since imposed stricter regulations. These include designated parking zones, speed limits, and restrictions on the number of operators. However, despite these measures, residents still complain about reckless and drunken driving, cluttered pavements, and a series of fatal accidents involving young riders. In response to the public’s opinion, Mayor Hidalgo said she is committed to respecting the voters’ choice.
As a result of the referendum, the 63-year-old mayor is expected to decline the renewal of operating contracts for Paris’s three e-scooter operators, namely Lime, Dott, and Tier, after August 31. According to her, their business model is not sustainable due to the high cost of 5 euros for 10 minutes, and it has contributed significantly to accidents. However, privately owned e-scooters, which sold 700,000 units nationwide last year, are not affected by the consultation. In approximately 200 towns and cities, 100,000 journeys are completed each day on rented e-scooters in France.
The ban imposed by the City of Light is expected to have a significant financial and reputational impact on multinational e-scooter operators, potentially setting a precedent for other cities to follow. Montreal prohibited all e-scooters for rental or private use in 2020, whereas Copenhagen initially banned rental e-scooters in 2020 but reintroduced them with stricter conditions a year later.