Paris Wipes Streets of Rented e-Scooters

City is first European capital to ban divisive 'free-floating' vehicles
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2023 9:36 AM CDT
Paris Wipes Streets of Rented e-Scooters
Scooters are parked in Paris, Friday, March 31, 2023.   (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Five years after they were introduced, to the delight of some residents and the annoyance of others, the last of 15,000 rental e-scooters have been cleared from the streets of Paris. The city has become the first European capital to ban the rental scooters, though Parisians will still be able to use privately owned e-scooters, the Guardian reports. In an April referendum called by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, almost 90% voted in favor of a ban, though turnout was just 7.5%. Critics say the "free-floating" scooters, which could be left anywhere, were being driven dangerously and piles of parked scooters were an eyesore.

But the scooters were popular with students and others under 35, with an estimated 400,000 people using them last year, per the AFP. Hugo Schofield at the BBC says that as a "cyclist of the traditional variety," he was no fan of the scooters—but he can still recognize the vote as "a stitch-up." Hidalgo, he writes, was "seemingly forgetting that it was she herself who introduced on-street hiring" and seeking a political win, turned against the e-scooters "almost overnight" and held a vote with "minimum publicity." "What happened was obvious, and predictable," he writes. "Older people—who vote regularly and hate e-scooters—turned out in force. Many younger people, who actually use the things, are more likely to have stayed at home." (Read more Paris stories.)

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