Sick of Self-Service Scooters, Parisians Vote to Ban Them
© AP Photo / Lewis JolyA man rides an electric scooter in Paris, Monday, Aug. 12, 2019. The French government is meeting with people who've been injured by electric scooters as it readies restrictions on vehicles that are transforming the Paris cityscape. The Transport Ministry says Monday's closed-door meeting is part of consultations aimed at limiting scooter speeds and where users can ride and park them.
© AP Photo / Lewis Joly
As furious Parisians continue taking to the streets every night following President Macron’s controversial attempt to ram through a retirement age hike without a vote, local officials had just the solution – a referendum to ban electric scooters.
Voters in Paris have overwhelmingly decided to ban the use of rented electric scooters in city limits, official figures indicate.
Paris reportedly has the highest rate of e-scooter usage of any European city, with each device logging an average of 3.5 uses per day.
But between the increased congestion and the hundreds of pedestrian injuries caused by the scooters each year, it seems most of the city is sick of them. Nearly 90% of Parisians who participated in Sunday’s referendum supported the measure to rid the roads of the battery-powered personal scooters.
One woman, who was reportedly injured for several weeks after being struck by a rental scooter, told French media this week that the doctor who treated her was “really tired of it – I could see it in his face.”
“He said he was dealing with [scooter] accidents nearly every day,” she added.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was responsible for calling the referendum which allowed voters to decide for themselves whether or not to retain the free-floating e-scooters. Privately-owned vehicles are not included in the ban, which applies exclusively to rented scooters owned by the the companies authorized to operate in city limits including Lime, Dott and Tier.
The three companies waged a serious public relations battle in the weeks leading up to the vote, advertising heavily on social media and offering free rides in an effort to entice younger voters who might not otherwise be inclined to head to the polls.
But in the end, it wasn’t enough. Of the approximately 103,084 Parisians who cast their ballot, 89.03% of them voted to end self-service scooters in Paris.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, who called the election in January, told reporters while voting Sunday that she is "committed to respecting the choice of voters, purely and simply," but made her feelings on the matter clear.
"It's very expensive - five euros for 10 minutes - it's not very sustainable, and above all, it's the cause of a lot of accidents," she added.
But cast against a backdrop of massive daily protests which continue to simmer throughout the city after a controversial retirement age reform, the vote struck a number of Parisians as completely out of touch.
As Popular Republican Union party founder Francois Asselineau pointed out on Twitter, "France is a country where the capital organizes a referendum for or against scooters, but where we stubbornly refuse referendums for or against retirement at age 64, the sanctions against Russia, [and] sex education at school."