Paris votes to ban e-scooters

  • April 5, 2023
  • Steve Rogerson

Paris will not be renewing its e-scooter contracts with Dott, Lime and Tier following a referendum that saw Parisians wanting them banned.

Though 90% of those who voted supported a ban, the turnout was only eight per cent. Nevertheless, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said she would respect the voters’ choice and not renew contracts with the three main operators.

The ban will only affect rental scooters and not privately owned vehicles.

Tier Mobility was the first to respond to the vote, saying in a statement that it was “very disappointed” with the outcome but pointed out that with around 93% of people choosing not to vote that e-scooters were not an issue for a large majority.

“With a presence in more than 560 cities and communities in 31 countries, we know that the decision of Paris goes against the global trend, which sees countries and cities around the world embracing low carbon micromobility,” said the statement. “Moving away from shared e-scooters also means that Paris is isolating itself from the rest of the world with major capitals like Washington, Madrid, Rome, London, Berlin or Vienna that are all implementing policies supporting e-scooters as ways to reduce unnecessary car usage.”

Tier said it would work jointly with authorities towards creating a regulatory framework that helps the uptake of micromobility.

Micromobility operators Dott, Lime, Superpedestrian, Tier Mobility and Voi have collaborated to create a framework and recommendations to help cities integrate shared micromobility vehicles onto their streets.

In a joint statement, they said: “In a pretty short time, the micromobility industry experienced huge growth, providing the strongest challenge yet to personal car use in cities. To ensure ongoing sustainability and global consistency, we combined our expertise to develop recommendations to cities that we believe are best-practices for regulating micromobility programmes. We have created a strong framework that has the potential to greatly improve the micromobility experience for riders and non-riders alike, allowing cities to experience the best of what our services provide. We came together to issue these recommendations. Now that we’ve demonstrated what conditions lead to sustainable services, we’re looking forward to working with city authorities to put these recommendations into action.”

Lime has started a month-long campaign under the tagline “Break Up With Cars” to encourage people to try micromobility.

“With transportation a leading source of global carbon emissions and more than 1.3 million people killed in car crashes annually worldwide, it’s past time to end our toxic relationship with cars,” said Lime CEO Wayne Ting. “We’re excited about this creative campaign’s potential to move people away from car use and onto more sustainable transportation options. It’s a reminder that freeing oneself from the costly and time-consuming headaches of car ownership is not only a healthy step for drivers, but good for cities and the planet as well.”

Micromobility alliance Micro-Mobility for Europe (MMfE) says it regrets the result of the referendum. It said that due to the low turnout, a small group of people had a disproportionate influence on the city’s urban mobility system. MMfE members include Bird, Bolt, Dott, Hopp, Lime, Superpedestrian, Tier and Voi.

“Discontinuing shared e-scooters in Paris will come at the cost of many citizens who wish to diversify their travel beyond private car ownership,” said the MMfE statement. “In the past weeks and months, city officials have repeatedly voiced criticism towards shared e-scooters but have neglected evidence that should guide balanced policy-making. We regret that the debate in Paris about the availability of shared e-scooter services has been led by emotions rather than facts.”

A study commissioned by the city of Paris, completed a year ago but only published last month, shows that shared e-scooters are one of the safest mobility options in Paris. Additionally, MMfE incident data from 2021 taking into account more than 240 million shared e-scooter trips reveal that privately owned e-scooters are twice as often involved in severe accidents than shared e-scooters. Consequently, discontinuing shared e-scooters in Paris may lead to an uptake of private e-scooters, likely leading to more incidents. Overall, MMfE data show that the risk of incidents is already significantly lower than in 2019.