Boon or blight? How cities around the world deal with e-scooters

PARIS: The for-hire electric scooters that have become ubiquitous in Paris and other cities worldwide are under scrutiny in the French capital, where residents vote on Sunday (Apr 2) on whether to ban them.

If Paris does outlaw the app-based devices that zoomed onto the city’s streets in 2018, it would become the biggest city to do so.

AFP looks at how other cities are managing the vehicles that inspire a mix of love and loathing, with users hailing them as eco-friendly ways to avoid gridlock and detractors slamming them as unsightly menaces with the power to maim and kill.


The French capital was an early adopter of e-scooters in 2018, when the pavements were soon strewn with discarded rental devices from the first operator, Lime.

After an uproar over the anarchy and a number of fatal accidents, the city clamped down, reducing the number of operators to three (Dott, Lime and Tier) and the number of scooters to 15,000.

While riders as young as 12 can still use them (the government wants to raise that to 14), they must be parked in designated spots and riders are not allowed to go more than 10kmh in most parts of Paris – but many do anyway.

Sunday’s referendum will decide whether rental scooters should be allowed at all. The vote will not impact privately owned electric scooters.


Across the Channel, London has shown greater caution with regard to devices the city’s police chief called “death traps”.

Only rental e-scooters with specific safety features are allowed in the capital. Privately owned devices are illegal.

Riders must be 18 or over and have a full or provisional driving licence.

The scooters have a speed limit of 12.5 miles per hour (20kmh) and their lights remain on while in use.

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