The electric scooters that have gained popularity in cities all around the world may be banned in the City of Light.
Three rental e-scooter businesses in Paris now have licenses that are set to expire in February; however, due to worries about safety, traffic, and long-term environmental effects, those licenses may not be renewed.
David Belliard, deputy mayor for transportation and public spaces for the Paris Green Party, told The Guardian that stopping the contracts is very much on the table right now if we can’t come to a deal with operators on security, public space, and environmental credentials.
As reported by Inside EVs, Lime, Dot, and Tier currently provide more than 15,000 rental scooters in Paris. According to electrive.com, the Paris Town Council is presently debating what to do, but Mayor Anne Hidalgo has the final say. Weeks should pass before a decision is made.
Safety is one of the main issues. According to Reuters, there were 20 accidents involving scooters that resulted in deaths nationwide in 2021, including one in Paris. According to The Guardian at the time, this was a case when an Italian woman was killed while crossing the Seine after being struck in the head by a scooter that was also carrying two other ladies. The first eight months of 2022 in Paris saw a total of 337 incidents involving scooters and other comparable electric vehicles, up from 247 accidents during the same period in 2021, according to The Guardian.
Companies that make scooters disagree, arguing that the rise in accidents must be viewed in the context of the rise in general use and that, in comparison to other forms of transportation, scooters are largely accident-free.
A Lime representative told The Washington Post that over 99.99 percent of Lime journeys in Paris were incident-free. “E-scooters see fewer fatal events on a per-ride basis than motorcycles, and far less than those caused by mopeds or cars,” the spokesperson added.
Although there are parking spaces specifically designated for scooters in Paris, the space they occupy on the streets is still a worry. The devices had nonetheless transformed Paris into a jungle where people are terrified to cross the street or simply to walk on the pavement, according to centrist MoDem councilor Maud Gatel.
According to The Washington Post, while scooters compete for space on sidewalks and streets, supporters claim that they can reduce traffic on buses and metros or provide an alternative when these modes of transportation are unavailable.
The issue of their ultimate environmental value is the last one. Scooters, according to some, cut down on the amount of driving in Paris, which is currently undergoing a transition that favors shared public space over automobiles. According to The Guardian, Bellard claimed that the sustainability case for e-scooters may be exaggerated because they are essentially disposable and have a very short lifespan.
However, an October study that was published in Nature Energy indicated that Atlanta’s ban on e-scooters and electric bikes did extend road travel time by around 10% and resulted in an additional 784,000 hours of traffic for inhabitants of the city per year. Increased cars also entail more traffic congestion, which increases greenhouse gas emissions.
The purpose of this essay is to argue that it’s not as straightforward as saying that scooters should be banned. According to a press statement from the Georgia Institute of Technology and research co-author Edward Chen. We have discovered that there are trade-offs between prohibiting them for public safety versus permitting them to reduce traffic congestion, and whether or not local governments make the choice ultimately affects how people live their everyday lives.
After the scooters first appeared on the scene in 2018, Paris has already made attempts at this compromise by regulating its rental business, according to Reuters. It established speed limits, a three-operator cap, and parking zones. The businesses are now putting up additional requirements, such as ID checks, a one-rider-per-scooter limit, and license plates so that police can enforce traffic laws, in an effort to maintain their licenses.’
According to Lime Public Affairs Director Garance Lefevre to Reuters, “Paris will become the city with the strongest scooter legislation in the world if it approves our recommendations.”
Cities all over the world that are trying to reduce their carbon footprints in the midst of the e-scooter boom will probably be watching what Paris does next.