In many countries across Asia and Europe, small, stand-up electric kick scooters, simply referred to as e-scooters, have changed the way people move around the city. Indeed, these personal mobility devices have increased mobility by decreasing people’s dependence on public transportation and their heavy, polluting, gas-powered cars.
However, as a lot of you are probably aware, the whole e-scooter phenomenon isn’t without its flaws. In fact, in Paris, France, e-scooters are turning out to be such a nuisance and menace to society, that the city is considering banning the use of e-scooters outright. At present, there are more than 15,000 electric scooters for rent spread across three operators—Lime, Dott, and Tier. Their licenses are set to expire in February, 2023, and it appears as though it might not be renewed.
You see, the Paris Town Council is considering not renewing the licenses of these three scooter-sharing operations surrounding the rising number of accidents, and unfortunately, deaths, involving e-scooters. In an article published by Reuters, in 2021 alone, 24 people died from scooter-related accidents in France, including one death in Paris. Furthermore, in 2022, there have been 337 accidents involving electric scooters from January to August, with the number rising as the days go by. For reference, the same period in 2021 saw 247 accidents.
According to Deputy Mayor David Belliard, who is also a green party politician in charge of transportation in Paris, the detriments surrounding e-scooters now overshadow the benefits they provide, particularly to safety, so much so that their continued operation may be deemed unsafe. While the city council’s vote to ban the continued operation of scooter-sharing platforms seems to be leaning towards implementation, the final say is up to Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.
The tightening of rules and regulations surrounding e-scooter use goes well beyond Paris. Several countries all over the world are looking for solutions to increase the safety of e-scooters. To address this, technology is usually the answer, with scooters being equipped with security features such as sobriety tests and number plates to make them easily identifiable. However, the fact remains that, if unregulated and operated by unqualified riders, e-scooters can pose a threat to the safety, not just of the riders, but pedestrians and other road users alike.