Paris slows rented e-scooters to 10 km/h in urban areas

Paris e-scooter rental companies are lowering the top speed of their rides in busy urban areas, as pressure mounts to make their services safer for pedestrians. — dpa

The speed of e-scooters in Paris has been reduced to 10km/h in parts of the city centre following new rules implemented by the three major rental companies in November.

This affects areas where e-scooters and pedestrians were notoriously getting in each other's way, according to local newspaper Le Parisien, notably tourist attractions, parks, schools and squares.

On the initiative of the city administration, reduced speeds had already been tested at the Louvre Museum and on some other squares in the summer. Now the rental companies of the 15,000 electric scooters in Paris decided to extend their so-called "slow zones".

Scooters automatically slow to a jogging pace once a rider enters a certain area and the scooter's GPS tracker registers their location.

Users can see the affected areas in the apps of the rental companies. Owners of private scooters can, for now, continue to use their previous top speed.

While Paris' efforts are among the most far-reaching and also expected to impact tourists, it's not the first city to introduce such geo-limits for electric scooters, and New York, Barcelona and Berlin all have limit speeds in certain areas.

Some Parisian suburbs also have such a restriction already, while e-scooter rental companies in many cities also set limits on where scooters can be parked to prevent scooters clogging up parks and crowded spaces.

France's rental services say their slow zones could be further adapted at the request of the city administration.

Paris officials are not yet satisfied with this voluntary step taken by the providers. As David Belliard, the mobility councillor at the Paris City Hall, told Le Parisien, the Seine banks and heavily frequented shopping areas are not yet covered by the speed limit.

In view of a large number of accidents with e-scooters in Paris (this year alone 329 riders were injured and two killed), the city is also mulling banning scooters in certain locations and their use by two or three people at the same time.

Meanwhile, to increase safety, the three rental companies in Paris have decided to introduce a "beginner's mode" in addition to the speed limit, which reduces the scooters to speed 15km/h across the board.

This mode can be set by people who are using a scooter for the first time and do not feel safe. – dpa

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