Parisians overwhelmingly voted to ban e-scooters on Sunday, in a hotly debated referendum that has taken place divided the French capital.
Voters were given two choices: “for” or “against” a citywide ban on shared e-scooters.
89% voted in favor of the ban, but overall turnout was low, with only 7.5% of eligible voters casting their ballots.
Visit us at TNW Conference 15 & 16 June in Amsterdam
Get a 20% discount on your ticket now! Limited time offer.
The streets of Paris will be free of shared e-scooters by September 1, the mayor said. That’s when the contract with Dott, Tier and Lime – the three e-scooter providers currently operating in the city – expires.
The ban will not affect the e-bikes offered by shared micromobility companies, which will remain in the city.
Despite e-scooters being welcomed with open arms in 2018, the Paris local government has gradually tightened its grip over the past five years, enforcing designated parking zones and speed limits and limiting the number of operators.
But despite the regulations and safety concerns, several fatalities followed accidentsand complaints about scooters blocking sidewalks and interfering with other commuters brought the problem to a head, with many calling for an outright ban.
Mayor Hidalgo agreed, saying the e-scooters were a “source of tension and worry.” But instead of banning them outright, she brought the decision to the people.
mayor in January announced what she described as a “public consultation”, to resolve the issue ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics.
The e-scooter operators quickly launched a counter-offensive, offering free rides to all users who voted for them and employing social media influencers to support their cause. But in vain.
Now that the results are in, Paris will now become the first European capital to ban the mode of transport.
Berlin-based Tier Mobility, Amsterdam-based Dott and San Francisco-based Lime said they were “disappointed” by the news.
The operators said in a joint statement that the deployment of only 21 polling stations and no option to vote digitally led to “extremely low turnout, heavily skewed towards older age groups.”
In 2022, Paris recorded about 20 million rides on 15,000 shared e-scooters – 71% of these users were under the age of 35. Many motorcyclists are also tourists, who cannot vote.
Some would have preferred a middle ground in the voting process.
Transportation Secretary Clement Beaune supports a continuation of e-scooters in Paris, but with more rules. He pointed to statistics suggesting that e-scooters have replaced up to one in five trips that would otherwise have been made with emission-producing vehicles.
Mayor Hidalgo, on the other hand, called the result “a victory for local democracy.”
Hadi Karam, General Manager France at Lime, told AFP last week that Paris went “against the grain” to ban e-scooter rentals.
Elsewhere in France, the mayor of Lyon, France’s third-largest city, has just agreed to one extension for four years of his contract with Tier and Dott.
Further afield are New York, London and Madrid all to expand using e-scooters to decarbonise their transportation systems.
It remains to be seen whether Paris’ ban on e-scooters will encourage other cities to follow suit, but it does come as a major blow to Dott, Tier and Lime, who are now banned from operating in one of the world’s largest shared micromobility markets.