Cities are toughening up the rules for electric scooters

·2-min read
More and more municipalities are legislating to ensure that motorized scooters are neither a nuisance nor a danger to residents.

The city of San Diego, California, is taking drastic measures to regulate the use of electric scooters, now requiring operators to ensure their vehicles are parked in dedicated spaces. With such measures, San Diego and other cities are seeking to make operators and users more responsible.

Anger is growing! And the example of San Diego, in the United States, is among the most striking. After having already prohibited their use on certain boardwalks and in parks, the city council has decided to impose new rules on the operators of electric scooters, notably prohibiting using them on sidewalks and parking them outside of dedicated facilities -- in other words, leaving them abandoned on sidewalks, as is all too often the case. The city should soon use road markings to indicate the places reserved for this type of device.

The municipality also envisages having driver's licenses systematically scanned before the use of these scooters in order to prevent them from being used by minors. Finally, each scooter will be required to bear a label specifying that driving and parking on sidewalks is strictly prohibited.

In addition, the city wants to reduce the number of firms allowed to operate these motorized scooters in the city and significantly increase their annual fees in order to maintain the same revenue stream. In fact, the number of electric scooters allowed to operate in the city could be reduced from 11,000 to 8,000. Successful operators will also be encouraged to serve lower-income, working-class neighborhoods.

All this is driven by numerous complaints from residents, fed up with the nuisance caused by electric scooters, which are considered dangerous and invasive. These decisions should come into force this summer, and proposals in a similar vein could soon cover electric bike operators, which are also becoming increasingly numerous in San Diego.

The phenomenon now seems to be spreading to many cities. For example, at the end of 2020, Paris limited the number of operators to three (Dott, Lime and Tier), each authorized to operate a maximum of 5,000 devices in the city for a period of two years.

Care should also be taken with regard to private individuals. In Geneva, where many speeding offenses have been reported, a police operation recently resulted in the seizure of various modified machines, some of them exceeding 50 km/h!

David Bénard

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