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‘Inherently unsafe’ – Why Paris readers want e-scooter rental schemes banned

E-scooters - an essential new part of the Paris' transportation landscape or a dangerous menace to pedestrians and motorists alike? Readers of The Local weighed in on whether the city should ban rental schemes.

'Inherently unsafe' - Why Paris readers want e-scooter rental schemes banned
Rental electric scooters are seen on a sidewalk in Paris, on September 4, 2021. (Photo by AFP)

A menace to public safety or a handy to get around the city? As Paris’ city hall contemplates banning trottinnette (electric scooter) rental schemes, The Local asked readers what they think of these zippy transportation alternatives, and whether they should stick around.

Over 80 percent said they would be in favour of banning the E-scooter rental schemes, with several respondents focusing on how they pose a danger to both the riders and nearby pedestrians.

You can see the survey results below:

Credit: The Local, screenshot from Typeform

Of the 76 respondents who voted “Yes,” many felt strongly that the devices ought to be banned, like Alex Thanos who said that “they are dangerous to both users and pedestrians. The machines often litter our sidewalks and streets many users are lawless and put innocents in potentially harmful situations.”

Another respondent, Erinn Ma, said she was in favour of a ban: “Paris is a busy city with enough traffic issues and scooter riders are often adding to the danger by not following basic safety rules.”

Ma and Thanos may find common ground with Paris’ mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who was reportedly leaning toward banning the free-float E-scooter fleets, currently represented in Paris by three brands: Dott, Lime, and Tier.

The ban would not affect people who buy their own trottinettes, but would affect the fleets of scooters that are available throughout the city to hire by the hour through an app.

Despite the anti-scooter sentiments, these devices have risen significantly in popularity in recent years. According to data compiled by Euronews, “free-floating E-scooters [were] used by over 450,000 people in Paris in September alone.”

Some enjoy the devices because they are seen as an environmentally friendly alternative to cars. One respondent, Stephen Coulter from Australia said that “they create more transport options which are sustainable.”

Meanwhile, others enjoy them simply because they facilitate getting around the city more quickly, and they help to avoid congested public transportation. 

Gaël Grasset, who lives in Paris, believes the city council should vote to keep E-scooter rental schemes because there is “not enough public transport, too many traffic jams.” For Grasset, these devices represent “one of the few ways to get around the city smoothly.”

Thousands of Paris residents felt similarly to Grasset, and have signed an online petition to make their voices heard.

The petition argues that the E-scooter rental schemes are necessary because of difficulties “piling up in public transport, strikes, fuel shortages” and that it would be “counterproductive to take away electric scooters,” particularly as Paris transforms itself into a bike-friendly and less polluted city.”

One petition respondent said that as a woman, access to E-scooter rental schemes “is a very good way” to travel, “especially at night after work. Night time is dangerous, and what’s more it’s easy, less polluting, sustainable, noiseless, without causing congestion or emissions, I thought that’s all Anne Hidalgo wants for Paris.”

As of November 21st, the petition had garnered over 18,000 votes in favour of keeping E-scooter rental schemes in Paris.

But one primary concern of city hall is that as the scooters have become more popular, there has also been a rise in accidents and deaths. AFP reported that there were 22 scooter-related deaths in 2021 – an increase from the seven deaths in 2020.  

Like other large metropolitan areas, Paris is navigating the best way to keep both riders and pedestrians safe – including asking companies to come up with measures to limit reckless riding, according to AFP. In 2019, the city made it so that electric scooter fleets – or trotinettes eléctrique – could only be rented out by three companies, in an effort to better regulate the devices.

Paris also added E-scooters to the French highway code, making them subject to rules of the road including speed limits and a ban on more than one person per scooter.

Nevertheless, many survey respondents still felt the devices remained too dangerous to remain in use in Paris. In fact, 38 of the 94 respondents either used the word “unsafe” or “dangerous” to describe the scooters. Specifically, many readers noted the fact that riders often do not wear helmets and sometimes go on the sidewalk rather than the street. 

One Paris resident, Tad Frizzel, has had more than one E-scooter related accident, as a pedestrian. “The whole situation is a complete bordel [nightmare],” said Frizzel. “I’ve been hit by them twice in a single day!”

Another city resident, Sandra Polaski told The Local that “the rentals are used by people who don’t know/don’t care about the rules. They pose serious dangers to pedestrians. I don’t know how many times I have jumped out of the way of a young man riding very fast on the sidewalk.”

Some respondents also expressed frustration over the devices being left “in the middle or the street and not parked appropriately.”

Yet, according to E-scooter operators, this issue has been mostly remedied. About 96 percent of the devices are now parked where they should be – meaning most of them are not lying on sidewalks or impeding pedestrians.

On November 16th, Paris deputy mayor David Belliard, who has responsibility for transport in the city, said that a decision regarding the fate of electric scooter rental schemes will be “announced in the coming weeks.”

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STRIKES

LATEST: How Paris transport will be hit by Tuesday’s pension strikes

Tuesday, February 7th marks a third day of mass strike action in protest at planned pension reforms in France. Here's how the strike will impact services in the French capital Paris.

LATEST: How Paris transport will be hit by Tuesday's pension strikes

Rail workers, public transport employees and teachers are along the people who will walk out on Tuesday in the latest one-day strike as unions battle the government over plans to reform the pension system, including raising the retirement age from 62 to 64.

Another day of mobilisation is also planned for Saturday, February 11th, however according to reporting by AFP, it will not involve any strike action from French national rail services, meaning trains run by SNCF are expected to operate normally on Saturday.

Here’s how this will affect Paris – you can find full details of the nationwide service impacts HERE.

READ ALSO: 6 ways to get around Paris without public transport

Metro

Services will be severely disrupted on the Paris metro system, and RATP has recommended that those who can telecommute to work do so.

As in previous strikes, metro lines 1 and 14 will run normally, though you can expect large crowds, particularly during rush hour. The metro line 3bis will run normally as well. Keep in mind that line 14 will close at 10pm, as it usually does on Tuesday’s due to ongoing works to upgrade the line.

On other Paris metro lines, half of trains will run on line 4, but others will run on reduced schedules, with some only operating during the morning and evening rush hours. Lines 8 and 13 will see portions of the line closed, as well.

Line 2 – 1 train out of 3 will run from 6:30am until 8pm

Line 3 – 1 train out of 3 during rush hour (6:30am to 9:30am and between 4:30pm and 7:30pm)

LISTEN to The Local’s latest podcast on how strikes in France are set to intensify

Line 4 – Half of the trains on this line will run throughout the day

Line 5 – 1 train out of 3 will run starting at 5:30am until 8pm

Line 6 – 1 train out of 6 will run between 5:30am and 8pm

Line 7 – 1 train out of 3 will run between 6am and 10pm

Line 7bis – Half of the trains on this line will run from 6am to 10pm 

Line 8 – 1 train out of 3 will run during morning and evening rush hour – from 6:30 am until 9:30 am and again between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm

Line 9 – 2 trains out of 3 will run in the morning, and then half of trains will run in the afternoon. Services will begin at 5:30am and end at 8:30 pm on this line.

Line 10 – 1 train out of 3 will run during the morning rush hour from 6:30 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. Then, half of trains will run in the evening rush hour from 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 

Line 11 – Half of services will run from 6am to 11am, and then 1 in 4 trains will run from 4:30pm to 7:30pm.

Line 12 – 1 train out of 3 will run from 5:30 am until 8:30pm

Line 13 – 1 train out of 3 will run during rush hours (between 6:30 am and 9:30 am; and between 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm)

Station closures 

Closed all day – Hôtel de Ville, Simplon, Strasbourg – Saint Denis, Réaumur – Sébastopol, Cité, Saint-Placide, Alésia, Barbara, Hoche, Laumière, République, Richard-Lenoir, Campo-Formio, La Motte Piquet – Grenelle, Cadet, Opéra, Tolbiac, Grands Boulevards, Jourdain, Goncourt, Rambuteau, Balard, Invalides, Varenne, Liège, Guy Môquet, Garibaldi, and Brochant.

Partially closed – Champs Elysées – Clémenceau (Open between 6:30 and 9:30 am, and 4:30 and 7:30pm); Reuilly – Diderot (Open between 6:30 and 9:30 am, and 4:30 and 7:30pm); Villiers station (Open between 6:30 and 11am and between 4:30pm and 7:30pm); Jussieu (Open from 6:30 to 9:30 am and between 4:30 and 7:30 pm); Michel-Ange (Open between 6:30 and 9:30 am and between 4:30 and 7:30 pm); Auteuil (Open between 6:30 and 9:30 am and between 4:30 and 7:30 pm); Molitor (Open between 6:30 and 9:30 am and between 4:30 and 7:30 pm); Sèvres – Babylone (Open between 6:30 and 9:30 am and between 4:30 and 7:30 pm); Arts et Métiers (Open from 6:00 to 11:00 am and between 4:30 and 7:30 pm).

For more specific information about station closures, click here.

Bus

On average, 8 buses out of 10 will run.

Tram 

Traffic will run normally on the tramline. 

RER Services

RER A – half of trains will run throughout the day.

RER B – half of trains will run throughout the day. Keep in mind that connections may be disrupted at Gare du Nord.

RER C – one in three trains will run

RER D – one train in six will run

RER E – two trains out of five will run

Transilien lines H, J, K, L and N will run one train out of three. Line P will run one train out of five, with normal services between Esbly and Crécy. On line R, no trains will run between Melun and Montereau on the Héricy route.

Regional TER trains will run three out of 10 trains on average on Tuesday, and services will be heavily disrupted across all French regions, including those connecting with the capital.

Eurostar 

The Eurostar has cancelled seven trains running on Tuesday and one running on Wednesday morning. You can see which journeys will be impacted here.

On average, the Eurostar service will run three trains out of four.

Trains

National and international rail services in and out of the capital will be severely disrupted, as the four main unions (CGT Cheminots, Sud Rail, CFDT Cheminots, and UNSA Ferroviaire) representing workers with France’s national rail service, SNCF, have all called for strike action on Tuesday, February 7th.

Representatives from SNCF said that they expect that French national rail services will be “heavily disrupted” on Tuesday due to strike action. Only half of France’s high-speed TGV trains will run normally on Tuesday February 7th, representing less disruption than the day of action on January 31st where only one in three TGV lines ran according to normal operating times.

The level of disruption will depend on geographical location. Two out of five TGV trains are expected to run in the north; half will run in the east, one in three will run in the west, and two in five will run in the south east. 

As for low-cost Ouigo trains, two out of five trains will run across the country on Tuesday.

Intercity and regional TER trains operated by the SNCF will also see services disrupted on Tuesday.

As for daytime intercity trains – SNCF will run two return trips on the Paris-Limoges-Toulouse, Bordeaux-Marseille and Nantes-Lyon lines. It will run one return trip on the Paris-Clermont line. No trains will run on the Nantes-Bordeaux and Aubrac (Clermont-Béziers) lines.

Travellers can expect normal services on the Paris-Nice nighttime intercity line. However, no trains will run on the Paris-Briançon, Pyrenean (Paris-Lourdes/La Tour-de-Carol) and Occitan (Paris-Toulouse) nighttime lines.

Transilien services will run an average of two trains out of three.

You can check to see if your journey will be affected by strike action by going to the SNCF website here – updated information will be available at 5pm on Monday, February 6th.

French national rail services told BFMTV that they recommend that travellers either cancel or postpone their trips for Tuesday. 

International rail services will also be impacted by Tuesday’s strike action. Lyria (which connects France to Switzerland) will see about half of services run as scheduled, and Thalys services will be “slightly disrupted”. 

Flights 

There will be some cancellations of flights, but only those travelling via the Paris Orly airport. Ahead of Tuesday’s strike action, France’s Civil Aviation Authority asked the Paris-Orly airport to cancel one out of five flights.

As a result, disruption at the Paris-Orly airport will likely be similar to that of January 31st, when approximately 20 percent of flights operating out of Paris-Orly airport were cancelled, but other airports were mostly spared. 

Schools

Many schools in the capital will be fully or partly closed for the day – the last one-day strike saw at least a quarter of teachers walk out.

Primary school teachers (maternelle and elementary schools) are required to inform students and families at least 48 hours in advance of their intent to strike.

One of the major unions representing teachers, SNUipp-FSU said they expect at least 60 schools in the Paris region to close on Tuesday due to walkouts, and they said that they expect about half of teachers to strike on February 7th.

Demos 

Demonstrations are expected in cities and towns across the country.

The demonstration in Paris will begin at Place de la Bastille at 2pm and it will walk toward Place de l’Opéra. Roads will be closed along the route.

January 31st, the most recent day of large scale mobilisation, saw over 1.27 million people take to the streets according to the interior ministry. In Paris, the number of protesters was estimated at 87,000, higher than the 80,000 clocked last time, the ministry told AFP.

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