France has increased restrictions on e-scooters and raised fines for illegal riding, ahead of the pivotal Paris referendum on shared e-scooters.
This weekend, citizens of Paris will have the opportunity to vote on whether shared e-scooter schemes should be permitted in the city, following controversy around their safety.
Ahead of the vote, the French Government has increased the minimum age for e-scooter riders from 12 to 14, and has increased fines from €35 to €135, according to France 24.
These new regulations for e-scooters cover both public, shared e-scooters, and privately-owned machines, which wouldn’t be impacted by Sunday’s referendum.
Transport minister Clement Beaune said during a recent press conference: “The explosion in use [of scooters] has come with an increase in the number of accidents. It’s a cause for worry.
“It’s an important consultation [on Sunday] that will be watched by a lot of other towns in France and overseas.
“I find it a shame that we have caricatured and dumbed down the debate.
“Instead of having it as ‘for’ or ‘against’, we could do ‘for, with rules.’
Last year, news emerged that councillors in Paris were considering a potential ban on e-scooters in the city due to safety-related concerns.
The city currently has 15,000 rental e-scooters in operation, introduced in 2020 on a three year contract, and operated by three providers – Tier, Dott, and Lime.
Shared e-scooters have been in operation in Paris since 2018, but following complaints about the original schemes, authorities cut the number of operators down to three.
To alleviate safety concerns, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has passed the decision about the future of shared e-scooters over to the public.
Meanwhile the three operators in Paris have been implementing a wave of new safety features in the hopes of improving perceptions in the city.
Erwann Le Page, director of public policy for Western Europe with Tier, recently said: “We’re still a young industry which is calling for more regulation.
“We know that everything isn’t perfect, that there are things to improve… We need to be able to convince non-users that we have a role to play in cities.”