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Paris votes to ban e-scooters


Paris residents voted Saturday to ban free-float e-scooters from the capital's streets, an action that will take effect at the end of August when existing franchise contracts with scooter rental companies expire.

The popular 'personal mobility' devices will still be legal for private owners, but will be subject to new national safety rules for their operation. The three operators (California-based Lime, Amsterdam-based Dott and Berlin-based Tier) could continue operating in Paris suburbs, but are unlikely to find that a profitable operation without the thousands of city rentals.

The scooters have become an issue in Paris because of safety concerns for pedestrians and riders, and because scooters have often been left blocking sidewalks, streets and doorways, and even just tossed into canals and the Seine.

Although the vote on the contract renewals was over 90% against the scooters, only about 7.5% of the eligible voters turned out for the referendum. Scooters have also been banned, or never legalized, in a number of other French cities including Nice and Toulouse.

While cities are still free to decide on whether they will allow scooters, the French government has unveiled a new regulatory plan that will apply where they are allowed and also to private owners. Among its provisions are increasing the minimum age for riding one from 12 to 14, and increasing the fine for riding with a second person on board. 

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