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Paris' rental electric scooter ban has taken effect

A man rides a scooter in Paris, on march 31. The city has now banned rental electric scooters.
Christophe Ena
/
AP
A man rides a scooter in Paris, on march 31. The city has now banned rental electric scooters.

PARIS — A ban on rental electric scooters took effect in Paris on Friday, becoming one of only a handful of places to do so.

Riders in the French capital started using stand-up e-scooters for rent in 2018. They became popular but dangerous, with reported injuries and even some deaths.

A few years ago, Paris cut back the number of companies operating the self-service rentals, which reduced scooters on the streets. The city tried to get riders off the sidewalks, to reduce their speeds and to park in designated places.

But even after the changes, in 2021, an Italian woman became the third fatality when she was hit by a scooter carrying two riders while she was walking along the Seine River in Paris.

Many of the problems persisted after the regulations, "especially in terms of insecurity and in terms of sharing of public space," said David Belliard, Paris' deputy mayor for transportation.

In April, the city held a referendum asking residents if they were for or against what it called "self-service scooters" in Paris: 89% voted to get rid of them, although the turnout was very low.

After the results, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo declared the app-based scooters would be gone in September.

The three companies that operated rental scooters had until Thursday to get some 15,000 of the vehicles off the streets of Paris.

Privately owned, non-rental scooters are still allowed.

In a press statement, the company Lime, which had been the largest e-scooter operator in the city, said it would redeploy the fleet to dynamic European cities where scooter use is growing.

Paris joins a growing number of cities that have tried to either restrict or outright ban rental scooters. Some cities like Copenhagen previously banned them only to allow them back.

Some Parisians are disappointed to see the widely used mode of transport taken away.

"That's not good for us because the scooter was good to get around. ... It was more simple," said 17-year-old Maria Cantal. "It was very cool and so we're sad."

Still, many residents welcome the news.

"Yes! They've disappeared. I'm so happy," said Nathalie Dupont, 56. "People still went too fast, and on the sidewalks. I have a friend who broke her leg and her arm when a scooter ran into her."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eleanor Beardsley began reporting from France for NPR in 2004 as a freelance journalist, following all aspects of French society, politics, economics, culture and gastronomy. Since then, she has steadily worked her way to becoming an integral part of the NPR Europe reporting team.