The city of Paris on Sunday voted overwhelmingly to ban shared e-scooters — becoming the only European capital to do so.
“Parisians have massively expressed themselves against keeping shared e-scooters,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said. “They have given us a very clear roadmap, and we are going to abide by their decision.”
Eighty-nine percent voted to ban the scooters, but the landmark referendum was marked by sky-high abstention rates, with only around 8 percent of registered Parisian voters casting ballots.
The streets of Paris will be cleared from shared e-scooters by September 1, the mayor said. That’s the date by which the contract expires which currently allows three companies — Dott, Tier and Lime — to each operate 5,000 e-scooters in Paris.
Paris welcomed e-scooters in 2018, under the leadership of Hidalgo. But the scooters soon caused security concerns, at least in part due to careless riding, as well as over their true environmental footprint and their impact on the urban landscape, as unused scooters littered sidewalks.
Despite the low turnout, Hidalgo hailed the results as a “victory for local democracy.”
“When we give Parisians the chance to speak up, they turn up,” she said.
But French Transport Minister Clément Beaune scoffed at Hidalgo. The referendum was a “democratic failure,” as showcased by a “humiliating turnout,” Beaune told POLITICO.
In the lead-up to the vote, the three e-scooter operators had requested that e-voting be permitted, as an incentive to get their target demographic, people aged 18-24, to vote. The request was denied.
They were also criticized for their controversial methods ahead of the vote, such as offering free rides to their users on the day of the referendum.
Alexandre Léchenet contributed reporting.