1. Transport
April 4, 2023

Following Paris: Should cities ban e-scooters?

In a decisive referendum on Sunday, Parisian voters supported the city officials' frustration with the use of public space by shared electric scooter operators and the associated rise in scooter-related accidents. As a result, a citywide ban on these scooters was overwhelmingly approved.

By Alex Summers

Electric scooters, or e-scooters, have become a popular mode of transportation in cities around the world. While many people enjoy the convenience and ease of using e-scooters to get around, there are growing concerns about the safety and impact of these devices on the environment. Not to mention just how much people hate tripping over those dumped on the pavement.

Parisians voted to ban e-scooters in the city – 90% were in favour of the ban. Voting is consultative and will still be evaluated by the Chamber of Paris. (Photo by Telmo Pinto/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Now, one of the leading cities in the world, Paris, has voted by a large margin to ban e-scooter rental in a referendum held on Sunday, supporting the opinion taken by Mayor Anne Hidalgo. “There’s been a lot of concern and tension over scooters, but I didn’t expect these results,” Hidalgo said at a press conference.

The case for banning e-scooters

One of the primary concerns is safety. E-scooters can travel at high speeds and can be difficult to control, especially for inexperienced riders. This can result in accidents and injuries, particularly for pedestrians who may not be able to move out of the way quickly enough. Additionally, e-scooters are often left on pavements and sidewalks, and in other public spaces, creating hazards for annoyed pedestrians and people with disabilities, such as wheelchair users or the blind.

There are also questions on whether their environmental credentials add up. While e-scooters are often touted as a green transportation option, the reality is that they require electricity to operate and the batteries used to power them have a limited lifespan. This means that e-scooters need to be charged regularly and the batteries eventually need to be replaced, which can have a significant environmental impact.

On the other hand, proponents of e-scooters argue that they offer a convenient and efficient mode of transportation that can help to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution. E-scooters are often used for short trips that would otherwise be made by car, which can help to reduce carbon emissions and improve air quality in urban areas. Additionally, e-scooters are often used by people who do not own a car or who cannot afford to use other forms of transportation.

Moreover, e-scooters are often viewed as a symbol of innovation and progress. They are part of a broader trend towards the electrification of transportation and the development of smart, connected cities. Banning e-scooters could be seen as a step backwards and could harm the reputation of cities that are trying to position themselves as tech-forward and innovative.

Whether cities should ban e-scooters is one that involves balancing the benefits of this mode of transportation against the risks and impacts. While there are valid concerns about the safety and environmental impact of e-scooters, there are also strong arguments in favour of their continued use.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to ban e-scooters will depend on a range of factors, including local laws and regulations, public opinion, and the willingness of e-scooter companies to address concerns about safety and sustainability. Whether more cities will follow Paris remains to be seen.

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[Read more: Bristol looks to be the UK’s e-scooter success story]

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