If you like riding electric scooters in Paris, be sure to plan a trip before September. People who live in the French capital voted recently to ban the vehicles.
The city said Sunday on Twitter that 89 percent of voters were in favor of banning scooters. However, only about 7 percent of its residents voted in what was called a “public consultation.”
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she would respect the vote. Hidalgo said at a news conference, "from September 1, there will be no more electric scooters for rent in Paris.”
Scooter operators pointed to the low number of voters and said they hoped to seek a compromise.
A spokesperson for Lime said it hopes to work with the mayor to “avoid a step backward for Paris.” A representative for Dott criticized the vote, saying the low turnout included mostly older voters.
French Transport Minister Clement Beaune is a possible candidate in the next Paris mayoral election in 2026. Beaune appeared to agree with the scooter operators. In comments to a French broadcaster, he called the vote “a massive democratic flop.”
Paris permitted electric scooters for the first time in 2018. By 2020, the city had cut the number of companies that could operate scooters to three and restricted their speed to a maximum of 20 kilometers per hour. At the time, the city gave the companies a contract that lasts until September.
In hopes of being permitted to continue operation, the scooter companies also offered to add more restrictions. They included limiting users to those over 18 and adding license plates so police could identify those who broke traffic rules.
In 2021, 24 people died from scooter-related accidents in France, including one in Paris. Last year, the city registered 459 accidents with electric scooters and similar vehicles, including three dead.
One person who voted to ban the scooters was Audrey Cordier, a 38-year-old doctor. “In my work,” she said, “we see a lot of road accidents caused by scooters, so we really see the negative effects.”
Other voters said they would like more restrictions, but not a full ban.
Thirty-five-year-old Pierre Waeckerle said, “I don’t want scooters to do whatever they want … but banning them is not the priority.”
I’m Dan Friedell.
Dan Friedell adapted this story for VOA Learning English based on a report by Reuters.
Words in This Story
scooter –n. a leg-powered or battery-powered transit device people stand on
resident –n. a person who lives in a place
consultation –n. a discussion or consideration
rent –v. to pay for something in return for its use, sometimes for a short time
flop –adj. something that does not go well, unsuccessful
license plate –n. a small sign attached to a vehicle which is used to identify the driver
negative–adj. something that is not good; undesirable
priority –n. something that is the most important
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