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France to ban electric scooters from pavements after rise in accidents

Around 15,000 rental scooters have flooded Paris since introduction last year 

Emma Snaith
Sunday 05 May 2019 19:06 BST
People found riding electric scooters on pavements in France will be fined €135 from September
People found riding electric scooters on pavements in France will be fined €135 from September (Getty iStock)

France is set to ban electric scooters from pavements following a rise in accidents and growing complaints over the number of the devices littering the streets.

An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded Paris since their introduction last year, with the number expected to rise to 40,000 by the end of the year.

In an interview for Le Parsien, France’s transport minster Elisabeth Borne said that anyone riding an electric scooter on the pavement would be fined €135 (£116) from September.

Instead, they will have to use the street or dedicated cycling paths "so pedestrians are no longer squeezed against walls", Ms Borne said.

She added the introduction of the electric scooters in France had “happened very fast and in a bit of an anarchic way”.

“And it is true that we are seeing an increase in accidents and but also an increasing sense of unease on our pavements."

Electric scooter rental services from companies such as Lime, Bird and Uber offshoot Jump have arrived in many cities across Europe over the past year.

Riders use an app to find the closest scooter before leaving it in a designated parking space.

But critics of the scooters say they are often strewn on the pavement and in public spaces, rather than parked in designated spots.

Questions have also been raised over the safety of the scooters, which can exceed 30mph.

More than 1,500 people have been treated for injuries from using battery-powered electric scooters in the United States since 2017, a Consumer Reports survey found in February.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo already announced measures to protect pedestrians from electric scooters last month. She tweeted that pavements are “for pedestrians only”.

Berlin's city hall has also drawn up tough new rules for electric scooters, while Barcelona has banned scooter rental services completely.

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In the UK, electric scooters are currently only allowed on private land, with the permission of the landowner.

Using them on the road commits the offence of using a motor vehicle with no insurance, and risks a £300 fixed penalty notice and six points on a driving licence.

The government concluded a consultation earlier this year on the future of mobility, in which several respondents said that the law on electric scooters should be changed. But there has been no sign of movement so far.

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