PARIS: France will ban electric scooters from pavements in September, the transport minister said, in a backlash against a surge of the commuter gizmos invading pedestrian areas.
An estimated 15,000 scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of this year.
Elisabeth Borne told the Le Parisien daily in remarks published Saturday that anyone riding an e-scooter, monowheel, personal transporter or hoverboard on the pavement would be fined 135 euros ($151) from September.
Instead, they will have to use the street or dedicated cycling paths, “so pedestrians are no longer squeezed against walls”, the minister said.
The development of the hugely popular personal transport vehicles “happened very fast and in a bit of an anarchic way”, Borne said.
Riders will still be allowed to push them on the pavement, so long as the engine is turned off.
Scooter rental services, from companies like US-based Lime and Bird — and most recently ride-hailing giant Uber — have proved wildly popular in many cities.
The French move follows a decision by Peru to ban motorised scooters from pavements and pedestrian areas from this week.
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo had last month already announced measures to protect pedestrians from e-scooters, “especially older people and children”.
She said parking in such a way as to obstruct traffic or pedestrians will mean a 35-euro fine — but the Paris city council has pledged to build parking spots for 2,500 scooters.
Berlin’s city hall has also drawn up tough new rules for e-scooters, while Spanish tourist hotspot Barcelona has banned scooter rental services completely.
More than 1,500 people have been treated for injuries from using battery-powered electric scooters in the United States since the craze began in late 2017, a Consumer Reports survey showed in February. —AFP