Paris was a pioneer when it introduced e-scooters, or trottinettes, in 2018 as the city’s authorities sought to promote non-polluting forms of urban transport.
But as the two-wheeled vehicles grew in popularity, especially among young people, so did the number of accidents: in 2022, three people died and 459 were injured in e-scooter accidents in Paris.
In what was billed as a “public consultation” voters were asked: “For or against self-service scooters?”
Twenty-one polling stations were set up across the city and were open until 7pm local time. Although 1.6 million people are eligible to vote, turnout is expected to be low.
The ban won between 85.77% and 91.77% of the votes in the 20 Paris districts that published results, according to the City of Paris website on what was billed as a rare “public consultation” and prompted long queues at ballot boxes around the city. The vote was non-binding but city authorities have vowed to follow the result.
Paris’s socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has promoted cycling and bike-sharing but supported a ban on e-scooters.
In an interview with Agence France-Presses last week, Hidalgo said “self-service scooters are the source of tension and worry” for Parisians and that a ban would “reduce nuisance” in public spaces.
Paris has almost 15,000 e-scooters across its streets, operated by companies including Lime, Dott and Tier. Detractors argue that e-scooter users disrespect the rules of the road and regularly flout a ban on riding on pavements. The vehicles are also often haphazardly parked or thrown into the River Seine.
In June 2021, a 31-year-old Italian woman was killed after being hit by an e-scooter with two passengers onboard while walking along the Seine.
“Scooters have become my biggest enemy. I’m scared of them,” Suzon Lambert, a 50-year-old teacher from Paris, told AFP. “Paris has become a sort of anarchy. There’s no space any more for pedestrians.”
Another Parisian told BFMTV: “It’s dangerous, and people use them badly. I’m fed up.”
Julian Sezgin, aged 15, said he often saw groups of two or three teenagers on e-scooters zooming past cars on busy roads. “I avoid going on e-scooters and prefer e-bikes as, in my opinion, they are safer and more efficient,” he told the Guardian.
Bianca Sclavi, an Italian who has lived in Paris for years, said the scooters go “too fast” and should be mechanically limited so they go slower. “They are dangerous because they zip in and out of traffic,” she said. “However, it is not as bad as when they first arrived … the most dangerous are the drunk tourists!”