Paris has given operators of electric kick scooter fleets one month to come up with measures to limit reckless riding, pell-mell parking and other “misuses” or risk a loss of their licenscs, city hall said Thursday.
Like many major cities, Paris is grappling with how to enforce safe practices for the zippy devices, promoted as a non-polluting alternative to cars or crowded public transport.
Critics say they are just as often used for joy rides that menace pedestrians, pointing to regular accidents and casting doubt on the environmental bona fides of batteries with short lifespans.
“All options are on the table, including an end of contracts” that expire next February, deputy mayor David Belliard said after a meeting with the three firms authorised to operate in the French capital.
Given the exasperation over “misuses,” city officials are questioning the “cost-benefit analysis” as well as the environmental cost of the roughly 15,000 e-scooters currently on the streets, he said.
Dozens of operators flooded the streets with free-floating rental fleets in 2018, leading to chaotic scenes of overturned or misparked scooters littering sidewalks.
That led the city to allow just three operators — Tier, Lime and Dott — and limit speeds to 20 km/h (12.5 mph) or even 10 km/h in dense zones, while setting up dedicated parking spots.
But some youths find it hard to resist doubling up on the devices — in theory a no-no — and scooters are often left on sidewalks or even found in the Seine River.
E-scooters and other “personal electric transportation vehicles” caused 236 accidents in Paris during the first half of this, a jump of 52 percent from the period last year, according to police data.
In France overall, 24 people died while using one last year.
“We’re very confident in our ability to respond” to the city’s demands, a spokeswoman for Tier told AFP.
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