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Low turnout as Paris says ‘non’ to electric scooters

Self-service e-scooters are set to disappear from Paris’ streets by September after a referendum at the weekend

Sights like this will soon be a thing of the past in Paris Pic: Victor Joly / Shutterstock

Parisians voted overwhelmingly in a referendum on April 2 to rid the French capital of self-service electric scooters. 

But the result was seen as being undermined by a low turnout.

While 90% were against keeping the scooters, only 103,000 – of the 1.3 million people eligible to participate –  came out to vote. 

Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she would respect the referendum results and promised all scooters would be off the streets by September 1.

The three main e-scooter companies operating in Paris released a joint statement saying they will “discuss the next steps” with city authorities. They criticised Paris’ handling of the vote.

Low turnout, high stakes

Despite a seemingly strong mandate, the low turnout makes it difficult to conclude whether this is an accurate picture of what Parisians think. 

The three main operators of e-scooters in Paris – Lime, Dott, and Tier Mobility – drove a social media campaign to get their mostly young users to turn out to vote, but it seems to have had little effect.

Their joint press release on Sunday night called the vote an “unprecedented consultation”, before criticising how the referendum was held.

“The voting methods could’ve been different: more polling stations, electronic voting, and municipal information… mobilisation could have been wider and more representative,” they said.

They will work together with the mairie to implement a plan over the coming weeks.

Around 400,000 people per month use self-service e-scooters to travel around Paris, with many using them to commute, raising questions about the effects of discontinuation on public transport and car usage in the city.

‘Not very sustainable’

Ms Hidalgo, a critic of e-scooters, called the vote in January.

“It's very expensive - five euros for 10 minutes - it's not very sustainable, and above all, it's the cause of a lot of accidents,” she said.

But she did promise to respect the results of the referendum either way.

The idea of a vote had been floating around since the death of a pedestrian in an e-scooter accident back in 2021.  

Other complaints about the scooters, aside from the danger they pose, are that they often block precious parking spaces in the capital, or they are left in parks and other public spots, spoiling views.

Read also: Will electric bikes and scooters soon need number plates in France?

Your view

Do you think electric scooters in cities are a good idea? Should other cities follow Paris in banning them? Let us know your thoughts over at news@connexionfrance.com.

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