On Sunday, locals of Paris voted to ban rental e-scooters on its streets. A staggering 90% of locals have voted against them in a ballot and the Mayor of Paris announced that it would no longer have a license to operate in the city from 1st September.
Dott and Tier have said that their e-scooters will remain available within the UK and have questioned the validity of the referendum in the French capital. Lime, Tier and Dott released a joint statement that said, “the result of this vote will have a direct impact on the travel of 400,000 people per month, 71% of whom are 18-35-year-old residents.” They also called into question the “very restrictive voting methods”.
Paris was one of the front runners of introducing e-scooters back in 2018 as the authorities sought to promote zero-emission forms of urban transport. However, as the number of e-scooters grew, so did the number of accidents. In 2022, three people died and 459 were injured in e-scooter accidents in Paris.
So, what does this mean for the world of micromobility?
As the e-scooter bubble has burst in Paris, many are worried that their cities will follow suit creating a domino effect. This has been a constant issue of micromobility launches and regulation, meaning that we may be going backwards entirely.
Additionally, the banning of e-scooters may result in users making the shift to personally owned vehicles. Now that people are not able to use different services their only option may be their own vehicle, which sets us further away from reaching any net zero targets and this will in no way solve the issue of reckless driving and safety.
In the hopes that this doesn’t happen, and people will be looking for alternative mobility operations, operators will have to shift to larger e-bike fleets and will have to assess providing their scooters via long-term rental solutions.
Operators will also have to reopen the discussions around e-scooter usage within cities to solve and offer solutions regarding the issues that were raised within the voting demographic.
Some of the concerns that were highlighted by the voters were the dangerous nature of the e-scooters and that they were an eyesore on their roads and created clutter on the sidewalks.
Back in October, we spoke to Nicolas Gorse, Chief Business Officer at Dott about the significance that safety played preventing users from making the transition to micromobility.
“The perception of safety isn’t around the vehicles, but from cars on the road, with a lack of cycling infrastructure being the main factor for fear of using micromobility. This can be effectively overcome, and across Europe are many great examples of steps which achieve this.” said Nicolas.
Although micromobility providers already understand users’ concern over safety, the vote did not represent the overall view of the city, but rather a small majority that held a significantly bad feeling towards the e-scooters.
Only 8% of registered voters turned up to vote and the request for e-voting was denied which would have deterred many of the younger voters who would prefer to use this platform. The French transport minister suggested that the vote was a “democratic failure”.
What is the importance of micromobility within cities?
Cities all over the world are faced with the ever-growing challenges of tackling the switch to sustainable urban transport. The introduction and increased popularity of new transport modes such as e-bikes and e-scooters, are hoped to accelerate this transition as they are accepted into legislation and regulatory framework. The global market is already expected to grow to $202.42 billion by 2030.
The exponential growth of the micromobility industry comes with more competition, more decisions, and an inevitable shift within the industry. Implementing organisational techniques around cities will mean more and more people will feel confident and safe to use these more sustainable modes of transport.
Through the use of e-scooters and e-bikes, providers are able to offer an alternative zero-emission form of transport. Users are able to easily get around the city without contributing to any environmental impact.
Although there is a need for better management of scooters on our city’s streets, this decision marks a huge setback to the city and its environment. It makes it a lot harder to get people out of private car ownership; a legal electric scooter poses less of a risk than the cars they help replace.