Paris has voted to ban rental electric scooters from the streets of the French capital, a blow to operators and a victory for road safety campaigners.
The referendum means the City of Lights, once a pioneer in embracing e-scooter services, will become the only major European capital to ban the widespread devices booked through apps like Lime.
The city’s residents were asked to vote for or against them in a public consultation organized by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, with nearly 90 percent of votes cast against, official results showed.
Operators say they are unfairly blamed for the often chaotic nature of the streets of Paris, where Mayor Hidalgo has championed cycling and other forms of non-emissions transportation since taking office in 2014.
Her administration welcomed e-scooter operators with open arms in 2018, but has since gradually tightened regulations, creating designated parking zones, capping top speeds and limiting the number of operators.
But such measures have failed to convince residents, who often complain of reckless and drunk driving, as well as litter on sidewalks.
A spate of fatal accidents has also highlighted the dangers of vehicles that can currently be rented by children as young as 12.
“I am determined to respect the voters’ choice, pure and simple,” Hidalgo told reporters as she voted on Sunday.
The 63-year-old is now expected not to renew operating contracts for the city’s three operators — Lime of California, Dott of Amsterdam and Tier of Berlin — from August 31.
She said on Sunday that their business model was “very expensive – five euros for 10 minutes – it is not very sustainable and it is mainly the cause of many accidents.”
The consultation does not affect privately owned electric scooters, of which 700,000 were sold nationwide last year, according to figures from the Department of Transport.
In France, about 100,000 trips are made every day on rented e-scooters in about 200 towns and cities.
The ban represents significant financial and reputational damage to the multinational operators and could encourage other cities to follow suit.
Montreal banned all electric scooters for rental or private use in 2020, while Copenhagen banned rental versions in 2020 before returning a year later with stricter conditions.