This Sunday, Paris will be hosting an important referendum that has nothing to do with France’s retirement age. The question is whether shared electric scooters should be banned citywide. And while there are concerns about whether this single-question referendum will draw many people out to vote, the city has said that, whatever the outcome, the results will be binding.
To be clear, this would only apply to the three micromobility rental companies that operate in the capital: Lime, Dott, and Tier. It would not apply to privately-owned scooters, of which there are many. In fact, France might just be one of the scooter capitals of the world. Over 900,000 scooters were purchased across France in 2021, and last year the number was about 759,000.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo has publicly said that she thinks these scooters should be banned. But does that really solve things given the number of private scooters in circulation? And are the current problems truly ones we can’t solve? As I have said many times before, I like scooters. I like them a lot. They’re convenient and fun to ride, and I see their value in helping to solve the last-mile problem.
I also can’t help but think back to the early 1900s when cars were just starting to infiltrate our cities and there were absolutely no traffic regulations to think of. It was chaos, it was dangerous, and I’m sure it was similarly divisive at the time. So should we have banned them and stuck with horses? Hmm. Maybe.
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