Paris bids the “trottinette” adieu
Rental kick-scooters are now banned from Paris following an (unpopular) vote earlier this year. The city became the first European capital to ban floating e-scooters from its streets. Early on, Mayor Anne Hidalgo had dubbed the little machines a nuisance, but the ban appears unique.
One could also call the ban a bit drastic. At the same time, the trottinettes, as the French call them, had become a massive problem in Paris. The first rolled out in 2018, and soon Parisians could find no less than 15,000 e-scooters, many of them cluttering the roads as they were left where they stood.
This soon became an issue, leading Hidalgo to call for a referendum in April 2023. While almost 90 per cent voted against the scooters, the turnout was just 7.5 per cent, but city hall decided to follow the vote.
The ban will take effect on 1 September and apply to all rental scooters. People will still be able to whizz through Paris on privately-owned scooters. Still, this leaves the nearly 400,000 users of 2022 without access to a fun and fast vehicle.
At the same time, the vehicles had not only cluttered the streets but also taken a toll. According to government data, ten riders were killed in France in July alone.
The three Paris providers, Tier, Dott and Lime, will now deploy their vehicles in other cities.
Clement Pette, head of Tier’s operations in France, told local media Paris was a “unique case” and a “major turn of the page”. By Friday, the Berlin-based firm had collected 3,000 of its 5,000 scooters.
Lime ships its Paris scooters to Lille, Copenhagen and German cities, and Dott is set to send them as far as Tel Aviv.
While Paris is indeed a unique case, also because the scooters were free-floating, meaning they could soon be found anywhere, it is an issue other cities are facing as well. While late to the scooter game, London allowed only restricted rollout and required the little machines to have designated parking spots, much like a bike scheme. Other restrictions designed to make the e-scooters more compatible with city life include speed limits and anti-cluttering measures such as taking a picture when leaving the mini EV. For Paris, however, these measures were too few and too late.
It is unclear whether banning rental schemes will make the cities safer. Recent cases in Barcelona and London, among others, document e-scooter batteries catching fire – these are usually privately owned and cheaply made. In these two cities and Hamburg, it is now forbidden to take electric kick scooters on the subway.