The Paris city government has said it plans to ban e-scooters in September following a referendum in which 89 percent of respondents said they were in favour of doing so.

But e-scooter companies criticised the vote as overly restricted in scope, with only about 100,000 people taking part, or about 4 percent of eligible voters.

Paris city hall said it would not launch new tenders or renew licences for the 15,000 e-scooters currently in use, operated by German group Tier, California-based Lime and Franco-Dutch firm Dott.

The vote was closely watched as Paris was considered a trendsetter when it introduced “trotinettes” in 2018.

Image credit: Lime

‘Trotinnettes’

The initial introduction was unregulated and at one point there were about 35,000 e-scooters on the roads from a dozen operators.

The machines often littered the streets and pavements and residents complained of dangerous, at times drunken usage by teenagers and tourists.

While regulations were brought in and licensing was introduced, in 2022 alone three people died and 459 were injured in e-scooter accidents in Paris.

The vote is likely to create difficulties for capital-hungry e-scooter companies seeking investment.

Investment peril

Dott chief executive Henri Moissinac told the Financial Times on Monday the “emotional impact” of the vote was “certainly not going to warm up some investors”.

He said that while other European capitals were increasing e-scooter services “Paris is the only one going backwards”.

Socialist Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Sunday that “more than 100,000 voters is very positive and encouraging” and that city hall would hold similar polls in future.

She has promoted cycling and bike-sharing but supported a ban on e-scooters, telling Agence France-Presse last week e-scooters were a “source of tension and worry” for Parisians and a ban would “reduce nuisance” in public spaces.

‘Drunk tourists’

A Parisian told BFMTV, “It’s dangerous, and people use them badly. I’m fed up,” while another resident told the Guardian the most dangerous riders were the “drunk tourists”.

But another resident told the Guardian the scooters an “excellent way to get to work”, and a student told BFMTV he used didn’t live near the Metro and used e-scooters to get to school.

Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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