France will ban electric scooters from its sidewalks from September, after locals grew frustrated with the vehicles congesting public areas and causing an increase in accidents. Paris and other cities have become home to thousands of e-scooters since their introduction just a year ago, with several companies operating scooter-sharing systems in the capital. But their use has caused tensions with residents, and France’s transport minister admitted they have resulted in accidents.
“The development of these (scooters) was very rapid and a little anarchic. We didn’t see it coming and it became the law of the jungle,” Elisabeth Borne told Le Parisien. “And it is true that we are seeing an increase in accidents and but also an increasing sense of unease on our pavements.” Borne announced riders will be fined 135 euros ($150) from September if they use e-scooters on sidewalks.
“Our main objective is that pedestrians no longer walk the pavements in fear of getting run down,” she said, adding that operators were themselves calling for “good practice rules” and for clarifications about how the vehicles could be used.
US start-up Lime, which manages an e-scooter network in various cities and allows people to rent the vehicles through an app, has aggressively entered the European market in the past year, with Paris as one of its flagship locations. It has been followed by companies including Tier, Bird and Uber offshoot Jump. But questions have been raised over the safety of the products, and earlier this week, a highly anticipated US study found especially high rates of accidents among new riders.
One in three injured riders were hurt on their first trip and about 63% had ridden nine times or fewer before their injury, the study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Texas’ Austin Public Health Department found. The researchers concluded that additional training may be necessary for e-scooter riders.