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Le Crunch for e-mobility sector as Paris u-turns on scooters

e-scooter in front of eiffel tower
By Ian Silvera
14 April 2023
Green & Good (ESG and Impact)

The French capital was once the poster city for the future of e-mobility with scooters whizzing up and down the historic streets surrounding the Seine. That dream is no-more after Parisians got their say on the issue and overwhelmingly voted (90%) to ban the e-mobility rental devices from the city.

The referendum on the battery-powered vehicles was in response to rising incidents surrounding e-scooters which became associated with yobbish behaviour and bad driving. One driver sadly lost their life at the end of last year after colliding with a lorry, while total fatalities soared to 22 deaths in 2022. Riders often don’t wear helmets and they can reach speeds of more than 15 miles per hour (mph). Which, funny enough, is a lot like rental bikes.

The Parisian backlash sets a bad precedent for e-scooter operators across Europe, including in London where rental e-scooters are limited to 12.5 mph. Safety is clearly a key concern so operators should consider some further self-regulation measures, including limiting speeds, implementing age restrictions measures (via digital sign-ups and apps) and a ‘good driving’ blitz.

The e-scooter operators will need a Chris Boardman-style champion. The Olympian is a relentless and dogged campaigner when it comes to cycling safety and how the mode of transport integrates with other road users. The e-mobility sector would do well to learn some lessons from the tenacious Boardman and fight for the right to ride.

As for the general public, Brits are generally uninterested in the devices. E-scooter bosses must address this apathy and move it towards positivity whilst working closely with regulators and transport authorities on best practices and communication campaigns. London’s first e-scooter lane is a starter for ten.