Paris has threatened to ban e-scooters if their operators don’t enforce speed limits and other rules after a pedestrian was knocked down and killed by two riders who fled the scene.
Some 15,000 devices are available for rental across the city, where they are supposed to travel no faster than 20 km/h (12 mph) with one rider only, and only on streets or bike paths.
Critics say those rules are hardly enforced, and abandoned scooters are often seen scattered on sidewalks and squares.
“Either the situation improves significantly and scooters find their place in public areas without causing problems, in particular for pedestrians, or we are studying getting rid of them completely,” deputy mayor David Belliard, in charge of transportation, told AFP late Tuesday.
“Other cities have done it,” he said, citing the Paris suburb of Issy-les-Moulineaux as well as New York and Barcelona.
On Saturday, police charged a nurse with aggravated manslaughter over a fatal collision earlier this month with a 32-year-old Italian woman living in Paris, who was standing on the banks of the Seine talking with friends when she was hit.
The rider and a passenger on the same scooter fled the scene and were found after a 10-day search.
The woman’s death, which brings to at least three the number of people fatally hit by e-scooters in Paris since 2019, revived the debate over allowing the devices on the city’s streets.
Belliard said he had summoned executives from the three e-scooter operators, Lime, Dott and Tier, telling them he had received “lots of negative feedback about scooters on sidewalks, the sense of insecurity, and scooters abandoned in the streets.”
Their contracts, which add nearly one million euros ($1.2 million) a year to the city’s coffers, run through October 2022, when they risk not being renewed, Belliard said.
He added that starting Wednesday, operators must ensure that scooter speeds do not exceed 10 km/h in several “slow zones” in central Paris, including the popular Republique and Bastille squares, where the city has recently added large pedestrian zones.
Operators are able to install speed brakes that come on automatically if the scooter enters slow zones, which are programmed into the GPS units.