What could be more Parisien than zipping through the streets of the French capital on a scooter?
For those who always wanted to try but couldn’t afford to splash out on their own two wheels, you might now get the chance.
Following on from the success of the bike-sharing scheme Velib’ and the equivalent electric car-sharing system Autolib’ the authorities in Paris are considering a new plan for the installation of electric scooter stations around the city, according to reports this week.
The scheme would work in the same way as Autolib' and Velib' with users able to pick up and drop scooters at specific docking stations around the city.
Scootlib', as the proposed scheme has been dubbed, was put forward by the far-left, "Parti Radical de Gauche" (PRG), and is aimed at tackling the lack of parking spaces for scooters in the capital. Fabrice Moulin, a spokesperson for the party said: "It's not just a gadget. It’s about providing an alternative to the increasing number of scooter users.”
According to a study by a French transport union in the capital the use of scooters and motorbikes has increased by 34% within the last ten years in the Paris region which has led to a serious shortfall in parking spaces. This might explain why walking through the capital’s streets can often feel like an obstacle course due to the number of scooters you have to weave around.
PRG believes scootlib’ might be just the solution Paris needs as it would encourage drivers to use the cheaper option of scooter rental instead of buying their own vehicles and clogging up the pavements with illegal parking.
In response to concerns over unlicensed driving, Moulin has suggested, “We can demand that drivers prove they have a license, as we do for Autolib’.”
Until recently in France it wasn’t necessary to have a license when driving a scooter with an engine size smaller than 50cm3, however a new French law introduced in January 2013 requires new drivers to follow a formal theory and practical license programme.
The hugely popular Velib’ is the system of city rental bikes that was in launched in 2007 in Paris. For an annual fee of just €29 subscribers can cycle for free on all journeys under 30 minutes. Autolib’, the self-service electric cars, followed in 2011. Before being allowed access to the eco-friendly cars, drivers must first register their driver’s license in an Autolib’ office.
Autolib’ hit the headlines earlier this week when one station in the 20th arrondissement was apparently targeted by vandals. One car exploded into flames as captured in the image below, before the fire spread to a second vehicle.
If the scooter scheme is given the green light, Paris won’t be the first European city to promote moped-sharing. Barcelona introduced its own city scooters, called Motit, in May this year.
Authorities in Paris say a feasibility study will be done prior to any plans becoming final.
Do you like the idea of getting on a scooter around Paris?
by Naomi Firsht