E-scooters in France will be regulated under a new plan announced Wednesday by the French government, which includes raising the minimum age for usage from 12 to 14 years old. Additionally, fines for riding an e-scooter with another person will increase from 35 euros to 135 euros. This announcement came just before a vote in Paris over whether to ban e-scooter rental, scheduled for the upcoming weekend. In a referendum this Sunday, Parisians will vote on whether these sustainable mobility solutions should be banned or not. As per the City of Paris, the outcome of the referendum in Paris will be final and have legal effect, regardless of the number of participants.
Dockless e-scooter rental services were permitted in Paris in 2018, one of the first major European cities to do so. In 2020, however, the city imposed stricter regulations due to a variety of concerns. As part of these measures, the city limited the number of e-scooters in the city to about 15,000, and only three firms were allowed to operate. Moreover, to ensure proper usage, geo-tracking technology was implemented to deactivate e-scooters that entered public parks and enforce parking.
The new measures are not surprising, and the providers of e-scooters are prepared to resist them. By offering a 10-minute free ride to those who register for the upcoming referendum, Lime, a company that rents e-scooters, is encouraging its users to participate. Paris is one of the cities where Lime's services are most commonly used. Another sustainable mobility provider, Dott, believes that it is the police's obligation to enforce existing regulations more effectively. In contrast, Tier has implemented a policy where the speed limit of its e-scooters is restricted to 15 kilometers per hour for the first 15 rides taken by its users.
Lime has been testing new technology in anticipation of the referendum, including an automated system that locks e-scooters when more than one person rides them. Additionally, the company has developed a system to assist law enforcement in enforcing fines.
This referendum in Paris is solely about the rental of e-scooters and would not impose any new restrictions on the burgeoning use of privately owned e-scooters in Paris.