E-scooters legalised in France but banned on footpaths

Electric scooters have become an increasingly common sight on French streets recently, even though there was no law regulating their use.
Electric scooters have become an increasingly common sight on French streets recently, even though there was no law regulating their use.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS • France on Friday officially legalised the use of electric scooters and similar devices, but banned them from footpaths, highways and rural roads.

The machines have become an increasingly common sight on French streets recently, even though there was no law regulating their use.

A decree published on Friday defines them as "motorised personal movement devices" and limits their permitted speed to 25kmh. They may normally only be used on cycling paths and city roads with a speed limit of 50kmh or less.

Users must be aged 12 or over.

The Paris city authorities have already banned the use or parking of e-scooters and similar devices on footpaths.

The new rules came into force yesterday.

Concerns grew over the safety of e-scooters following the death of a man in Paris in June, after his electric scooter collided with a lorry, the first such fatality involving the increasingly popular devices. Just a year after they first appeared on the Paris streets, mushrooming electric scooters have become a gigantic headache for the authorities.

Fans have embraced scooters as a quick and cheap way to get around, since the "dockless" devices are unlocked with a phone app and can be left anywhere when a ride is finished.

 

The mobility benefits of scooters, and the dangers inherent in using them, are making them an issue not just in France but across Europe. E-scooters have also been controversial in Germany where they were made legal in June.

Last month, Berlin police said they recorded 74 accidents involving the devices in the first three months of legal use, and launched 87 investigations, including 65 into drink-driving.

DPA, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on October 27, 2019, with the headline 'E-scooters legalised in France but banned on footpaths'. Print Edition | Subscribe