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Paris bans electric scooters with 89% of votes in referendum, but low turnout is disputed | world

Two people on an electric scooter in Paris on April 1, 2023 – Photo: Sarah Messonnier/Reuters

Electric scooters for rent will disappear from the streets of Paris on the first of September, after 89.03% of the participants voted against the continuation of this service in the streets of the capital, according to the results of the referendum organized by Paris on Sunday (2). municipality. Socialist Mayor Anne Hidalgo has confirmed that she will respect the result of the ballot, but the press shows, Monday (3), that this decision frustrates many people.

The referendum was open to all voters in the capital, however Only 103 thousand people voted, which represents the participation of 7.46% of citizens who are able to express their opinion.. The criticisms go far beyond the low turnout. Operators of rental scooters unsuccessfully demanded that the city council organize an electronic vote, notes AFP, in order to facilitate the participation of young people, the main users of these means of transport and entertainment. The municipal administration opted, however, for in-person voting and concentrated voting in 203 polling stations, as opposed to the 900 used in traditional elections.

According to the newspaper “Le Parisien”, this decision is causing “an uproar” among the 800 employees of the three small traffic operators (Lime, Dot and Terre) who provide this service in the Paris region. Replacing scooters with electric bikes does not provide the same profitability and is more complicated in the logistics of spare parts.

BFM Radio notes that 400,000 customers will be penalized with scooter service termination. Private use will still be possible, but not all users have €300 or €400 to purchase their own equipment. The disappearance of the service would then create an additional problem of inequality among the French, notes the BFM.

An exception is in Europe

“Le Monde” confirms that Paris will become The only European capital to ban the rental of electric scooters, which are a relatively environmentally friendly mode of transportation. Mayor Anne Hidalgo and her deputy for transportation have advocated the end of scooters because of the high number of accidents on the streets — 408 in 2022 — and the danger they pose to pedestrians and users.

Rudeness has become frequent: users go the wrong way without respecting traffic rules, scooters left on sidewalks, hundreds of falls and are run over every year. These problems are real, but what troubles thousands of Parisians is the city council’s inability to campaign to educate and prevent this indecency, starting right from proposing a ban. Many users who use scooters properly complain that there are no agents to fine offenders and require the use of helmets, for example, which might actually reduce the risk.

The question people ask is similar to that of street cleanliness in other European capitals. Why does he work in Barcelona, ​​Rome or Berlin but not in Paris? One reason suggested is that Paris has a fleet of 15,000 electric scooters for rent, while in other European cities the supply has been cut in half.

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