On Sunday, April 2, Paris residents voted in a referendum to ban the rental of electric scooters, known in France as “trotinettes.” The result was overwhelming: 89% of voters were in favor of the measure, although the low turnout of 8% leaves it in doubt whether the result is representative of the opinion of the Parisian population. In any case, the mayoress of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, has promised to respect the result of the referendum.
A sustainable mobility project that failed to meet its objectives
Since its launch in 2018, electric scooter rentals have become a popular mobility option in Paris. However, problems related to road safety, coexistence with other users of public space and the saturation of the sidewalks with these abandoned vehicles soon began to arise. The Parisian mayor’s office tried to bring order to the sector by reducing the number of rental companies, imposing speed limits and fining users who did not respect the rules. However, accidents and complaints continued to multiply.
A controversial move for an ambiguous goal
The ban on the rental of electric scooters is a controversial measure that has generated mixed reactions in public opinion. On the one hand, those who support the ban argue that electric scooters are a danger to road safety and coexistence on the sidewalks. In addition, they criticize that these vehicles are not really sustainable, since in many cases they replace journeys that could be done on foot or by public transport.
On the other hand, those who oppose the ban maintain that electric scooters are a useful and ecological alternative for moving around the city, especially over short distances. In addition, they argue that the ban may have the opposite effect, encouraging users to buy electric scooters for their own use instead of renting them.
An advance for road safety?
Beyond the controversy, the ban on the rental of electric scooters in Paris can be seen as an advance for road safety. The coexistence between pedestrians, bicycles, motorcycles and electric scooters on the sidewalks and bike lanes is increasingly complex, and the regulation of the use of these vehicles is a challenge for the authorities. The ban on the rental of electric scooters can be seen as a precautionary measure to avoid accidents and conflicts in public spaces.
However, it is also true that the ban on the rental of electric scooters does not solve the underlying problem, which is the need for adequate regulation of the use of these vehicles in the city.
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