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France raises minimum age for using an electric scooter

Electric scooters are a divisive issue and a referendum is being held in Paris on Sunday over whether to ban self-service ones

The minimum age to use electric scooters in France will increase from 12 to 14 Pic: Flydragon / Shutterstock

France has moved to raise the minimum age children can use electric scooters.

Transport minister Clément Beaune told 20 Minutes it would be hiked to 14, up from 12 previously.

Mr Beaune - revealed a national action plan on regulating electric scooters on Wednesday (March 29) and said fines for anyone breaking the rules will be increased from €35 to €135.

Electric scooters are a divisive issue in France. 

There are around 2.5 million people who find them a useful mode of transport, according to the Fédération des professionnels de la micromobilité.

But others are concerned about the safety and regulation of electric scooters, called. trottinettes électriques in French.

On Sunday (April 2), Paris is holding a referendum on whether to ban self-service electric scooters. 

Mr Beaune rejected suggestions his announcement was linked to trying to influence the vote in the French capital.

“I very much regret how the debate is being caricatured,” he said. “This vote, a first in nine years, leaves little mystery about its outcome since the city has already said that it wants the ban. 

“I find it unfortunate that we discard the option chosen by many cities, which is: “to keep [electric scooters], but with more rules”. That is not proposed in this binary referendum! 

“I'm just a little surprised that a city that has 15,000 self-service scooters should fail and say "we have no other way but a ban". 

“Especially since it does not solve the issue of private scooters, which are more and more numerous.”

Read more: Public to vote on whether to keep for-hire e-scooters in Paris

Mr Beaune said companies providing self-service electric scooters would sign a charter on Wednesday to improve user safety and respect the environment, by ensuring batteries last five years and making it obligatory to recycle them in France.

It comes after a draft law was presented to French senators, calling for electric bikes and scooters to carry registration plates.

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