Paris votes to ban e-scooter rentals overwhelmingly, with residents 'scared' and 'made nervous' by the 'nuisance'

3 April 2023, 08:42

E-scooters have been banned in Paris
E-scooters have been banned in Paris. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

French voters have voted to banish e-scooter rentals from their streets.

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The capital has some 15,000 scooter rentals, after the city brought them in in 2018 in a bid to introduce more sustainable and active travel for residents.

But just as in London, the e-scooters have divided residents, with some hailing their usefulness but others lamenting the danger they pose. Some three people died and 459 people died in e-scooter related incidents in the French capital in 2022.

City Hall asked Parisians in its referendum on Sunday if they were "for or against self-service scooters in Paris?"

Council officers said on their website that about 103,000 people voted, with 89% rejecting e-scooters and just 11% supporting them. The turnout was very low at less than 10% of eligible voters.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo told Agence France-Presse ahead of the referendum that “self-service scooters are the source of tension and worry” for Parisians. She added that barring them would “reduce nuisance” in public spaces.

Blind caller 'scared' to walk streets due to e-scooters on pavement

Ms Hidalgo hailed the vote as a success and repeated her vow to respect the outcome of the consultative referendum.

The voters' "very clear message now becomes our guide", she said. "With my team, we'll follow up on their decision as I had pledged."

Scattered around Paris, easy to locate and hire with a downloadable app and relatively cheap, the scooters are a hit with tourists who love their speed and the help-yourself freedom they offer.

In the five years since their introduction, following in the wake of shared cars and shared bicycles, for-hire scooters have also built a following among some Parisians who do not want or cannot afford their own but like the option to escape the Metro and other public transport.

Parisians have voted to ban e-scooters
Parisians have voted to ban e-scooters. Picture: Getty

But many Parisians complain that e-scooters are an eyesore and a traffic menace, and the micro-vehicles have been involved in hundreds of accidents.

Ms Hidalgo and some of her deputies campaigned to banish the "free floating" rental flotilla - so called because scooters are picked up and dropped off around town at their renters' whim - on safety, public nuisance and environmental cost-benefit grounds before the capital hosts the Olympic Games next year.

Read more: E-scooter crashes triple in a year and ten riders killed, government figures reveal

Read more: E-scooter deaths are rising as police take less action against them, coroner warns after girl, 14, killed in minibus crash

E-scooters are available for rent in London but in the UK private scooters must only be ridden on private land, not in public. They have also been banned from Transport for London services and stations because of concerns over the safety of their batteries.

Collisions involving e-scooters in the UK tripled in a year from 2021 to 2020, the most recent numbers available.

The Department for Transport's annual road casualties report found there were 1,352 reported collisions involving e-scooters, dwarfing the 2020 figure of 460.