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Paris e-scooter operators unveil new safety measures in bid to avoid ban

Faced with the possibility that the Paris mayor will ban the devices, the city's three electric scooter hire operators have announced new plans for making the devices safer and more sustainable.

Paris e-scooter operators unveil new safety measures in bid to avoid ban
Dott, TIER and Lime electric scooters in Paris (Photo by Thomas SAMSON / AFP)

Electric scooter rental operators in Paris unveiled “strong improvements” to enhance safety and sustainability.

The heads of the city’s three e-scooter operators – Lime, Dott, and Tier – are hoping new measures will encourage the city to keep the controversial electric scooter rental fleets.

Paris city hall has floated the idea of not renewing contracts for the scooter rental companies, which are set to expire in February 2023, due to safety concerns. 

“Shared e-scooters now offer an efficient, highly regulated transport service which is being used by hundreds of thousands of Parisians. We have listened to the requests from the City of Paris and believe that we have provided robust and effective responses,” said the CEOs of the three companies, in a joint statement shared with The Local.

In September, Paris’ town hall asked the three scooter operators to develop measures that would make the devices more safe, sustainable, and better integrated into the public space. 

On Thursday, the companies revealed their proposed measures:

  • Extending age verification tools to the entirety of the city’s scooter fleet by Monday, November 28th.
  • Adding vehicle registration plates to all scooters to increase rider accountability. This would facilitate better enforcement of traffic and highway code violations, according to the companies. through easier reporting of highway code violations
  • Banning offenders – this would constitute removing users who repeatedly violate the highway code.
  • Funding an experiment using camera technology to detect highway code violations
  • Testing sidewalk detection technology to prevent pavement riding
  • An education campaign (produced by all three operators) to raise awareness of highway code laws and responsible use
  • Creating of a ‘micro-mobility observatory’ to produce independent data on uses and accidents, which would then be shared with city authorities
  • Using technology to prevent overfilled parking spots and doubling the number of patrollers to move vehicles from full spaces
  • Financing infrastructure which benefits e-scooter users by increasing the fee paid to the City of Paris
  • Creating price incentives to encourage users to choose walking over very short trips
  • Financing the long-term rental of adapted e-scooters for disabled users in collaboration with OMNI (a company specialised in developping accessible transportation options for disabled people)

According to reporting by AFP, Paris’ Mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has been considering a ban on the devices in the wake of a recent electric scooter related death. The city counted 22 scooter-related deaths in the last year – a sharp increase from seven deaths in 2020.

Readers of The Local also weighed in, giving their opinions in THIS reader survey. Overall, over 80 percent of respondents supported banning the devices, primarily due to concerns around safety and enforcement of traffic violations, such as scooter users riding them on the sidewalks or parking them in inappropriate locations.

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

Nevertheless – some Paris residents are fans of zippy devices, viewed by many as an environmentally-friendly transportation alternative. In light of the e-scooter rental schemes being potentially banned, those who support keeping the devices put together an online petition to encourage city hall not to ban them. As of Thursday, it had almost 20,000 signatures. 

READ MORE: The 10 problems with Paris transport system France’s ex-PM must deal with

“We have no doubt that Paris will maintain its leadership in the fight against pollution and the promotion of sustainable transport,” said the leaders of the three companies in their statement. “We are not preparing for a ban, which would be a step backwards when other major global capitals are making this type of service permanent.”

The Paris town hall will announce a decision on the future of e-scooter rental schemes “in the coming weeks.” 

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NOTRE DAME

Paris’ Notre-Dame ‘will reopen by end of 2024’

Notre-Dame Cathedral's spire will be back in place by the end of the year, but a full reopening following the devastating fire of 2019 will not happen before next year's Paris Olympic Games, says the government.

Paris' Notre-Dame 'will reopen by end of 2024'

The reconstruction is still on track for completion by the end of 2024, the culture ministry told AFP.

“The site is progressing at a good pace,” a spokesperson said.

The authorities have previously given December 8th – the Feast of the Immaculate Conception – as a likely deadline.

It means the 12th century cathedral, which previously saw some 12 million annual visitors, will not be able to welcome attendees of the Olympic Games which Paris is hosting in July and August 2024.

But the sharp spire, added by architect Eugene Viollet-Le-Duc during the cathedral’s redesign in the 19th century and replacing a previous wooden spire that had fallen into disrepair, will be back in place by the end of 2023, the ministry said.

The collapse of the wooden spire was one of the most dramatic moments of the fire of April 15th, 2019.

The steeple and spire of the landmark Notre-Dame Cathedral collapses as the cathedral is engulfed in flames in central Paris on April 15, 2019. Photo by Geoffroy VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

An identical version has been made from the same original materials: 500 tonnes of oak wood for the structure and 250 tonnes of lead for the cover and ornaments.

There have been health concerns over the lead debris from the fire, and the use of lead in the reconstruction, with French officials having to reassure their European counterparts that adequate safety measures have been taken.

Preparatory work to start reinstalling the spire began this week, with scaffolding put in place and custom-cut base stones delivered along the River Seine.

Once completed the spire will reach 100 metres high.

Meanwhile, the painstaking clean-up work of the cathedral’s interior walls – a total of 42,000m2 – has been completed, along with that of murals, ironwork, joinery, stained glass and sculptures that survived the fire.

A temporary hangar has been built in front of the main facade for sculptors to restore and replace its statues.

New interior designs are being considered with a winning plan due to be selected this summer.

There was controversy over last year’s decision to include contemporary art among the pieces displayed in the cathedral.

Archbishop of Paris Laurent Ulrich recently said he wanted “an educational and spiritual journey… not the equivalent of a museum”.

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