In Paris, the popularity of electric scooters is leading to dozens of accidents including a fatality just a few days ago. Officials in the French capital are now trying to put the brakes on the e-scooters by announcing new regulations.
CGTN’s Stefan de Vries reports.
Metros, buses, taxis, bikes and now electric scooters. Paris has already a lot of options to move around the city. But since a couple of months, these electric scooters are taking over the streets. There are already more than 20,000 of them and they are pretty handy.
Although the scooters are popular, they’re also becoming a contentious issue. Some users are reckless going too fast on sidewalks, ignoring traffic lights and leaving them in the middle of sidewalks.
This past week in Paris, an electric scooter rider died after a collision with a truck. There are frequent reports of incidents involving scooters and pedestrians every week.
“I was violently hit in my back by an electric scooter. I fell. My wrist hurt really badly, my hand was twisted. The Emergency Services arrived and took me to the hospital. For my job, I’m a pianist, it’s a real catastrophe,” said Paris Opera pianist Isabelle van Brabant.
Local officials acknowledge the problem and say enough is enough.
“Electric scooters have been increasing in number in an anarchic fashion for a year now and for one simple reason, which is that there are no clear legal guidelines,” said Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris.
Swedish operator VOI is one of the companies renting scooters in Paris.
“Electric scooters are new, so clearly it’s not perfect yet. It’s indeed a matter of behavior. That’s why we are campaigning to change that, handing out helmets, giving advice by email and on the app,” said Lucas Bornett, CEO of VOI France.
The mayor of Paris has announced that starting in July, the city will ban e-scooters in parks and gardens, forbid parking on sidewalks and limit the speed to 20 kilometers per hour (12mph).
But those measures are too late for van Brabant.
“That silence, from one day to another, is horrible for a musician. I dream of returning to work, but it will take months, or a year at the least,” said van Brabant.
Despite predictions the number of electric scooters will only grow in coming years, some operators in Paris will face an uphill climb.
The city of Paris wants to limit the number of companies with electric scooters to three. The current 12 competitors will likely face a struggle for survival. But for the time being, these very handy scooters are here to stay.