In what would be a first for a major city in the world, Parisians will vote on Sunday whether to ban electric scooters for rent from the city’s streets.
Paris was one of the first cities to use the vehicles that can be rented using an app like Lime, Dott, or Tier and are popular among young people as an alternative to public transportation for short distances, as reported by AFP.
“Symbolically the vote is very important,” said Erwann Le Page, public affairs director at Tier, a Berlin-based operator, who spoke to AFP. “It’s a city that has been a pioneer,” he said.
City authorities have gradually toughened rules following the scooters’ chaotic rollout in 2018, designating parking areas, capping maximum speeds, and limiting the number of operators.
Yet, their presence is still controversial. Pedestrians complain about careless driving, and a string of deadly incidents has brought attention to the risks associated with vehicles that can currently be rented by kids as young as 12.
In January, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo proposed a poll to decide whether or not for-hire scooters should be permitted after facing criticism for violating traffic regulations in the city.
In an interview with AFP on Thursday, the pro-cycling Socialist, who favours a ban, referred to them as a “source of worry” in Parisians’ daily life.
Residents of Paris have been asked to cast their votes on Sunday, but in order to do so, they must be on the voter lists and physically travel to one of the 21 polling places spread out over the city.
Clement Beaune, the transport minister, expects a ban, and several operators discreetly worry about a bad outcome if their primarily young user base does not vote.
“It’s an important consultation that will be watched by a lot of other towns in France and overseas,” Beaune told the Europe 1 radio station on Wednesday. “I find it a shame that we have caricatured and dumbed down the debate.
“Instead of having it as ‘for’ or ‘against’, we could do ‘for, with rules’,” he added.
(With inputs from agencies)