Parisians vote big to banish rental e-scooters: NPR

Scooters are parked in Paris, Friday, March 31, 2023.

Christophe Inna / AP

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Christophe Inna / AP

Scooters are parked in Paris, Friday, March 31, 2023.

Christophe Inna / AP

Parisians voted overwhelmingly to remove the French capital’s ubiquitous e-scooters from their streets, in a small referendum that the mayor said sent a “very clear message”.

The small 15,000 opinion-dividing machines could now disappear from central Paris at the end of August when the city’s contracts with the three operators expire.

The question the city council put to voters in the citywide mini-referendum on Sunday was: “For or against self-service bicycles in Paris?”

The result was not close. On its website, City Hall said some 103,000 people voted, with 89% disapproving of e-scooters and only 11% in favor.

Participation was very low. Voting was open to all 1.38 million registered voters in Paris.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo hailed the vote as a success and reiterated her pledge to respect the results of the advisory referendum.

“The clear voter message is now our guide,” she said. “With my team, we will follow up on their decision as I pledged.”

Scooters are dotted all over Paris, easy to find and rent with a downloadable app and relatively cheap, they are a hit with tourists who love their speed and the freedom of assistance they provide.

In the five years since their introduction, on the heels of shared cars and shared bikes, scooters for rent have also built a following among some Parisians who don’t want or can’t afford their own but would love the option of escaping the metro and other public transport.

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But many Parisians complain that e-scooters are an eyesore and a traffic threat, and that small vehicles are involved in hundreds of accidents.

Hidalgo and some of her deputies have campaigned to banish the “free floating” rental fleet—so named because scooters are picked up and dropped off around town at the whim of renters—for reasons of safety, public inconvenience, and environmental cost-benefit reasons by DC hosts. Olympic Games Next year.

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