Electric scooters are taking off in Paris. More and more commuters are buying their own and then there's the highly successful rental schemes that have take off in the capital.
An estimated 15,000 electric scooters operated by several companies have flooded the French capital since their introduction last year, a number projected to surge to 40,000 by the end of this year.
The services, from companies like US-based Lime and Bird, have proved wildly popular in many cities, though critics say they have often skipped asking for permits.
Paris has also introduced fines for parking scooters in inappropriate places. Photo: AFP
Riders use an app to find the closest scooter and then leave it wherever they want – which is not always in a designated parking spot.
Often, they are seen strewn on squares, abandoned in front of buildings or clustered around Paris landmarks.
The French measures came into effect on Wednesday – the same the day that German ministers agreed their own rules for scooter users.
After German transport minister Andreas Scheuer labelled the two-wheelers a “genuine additional alternative for cars” in traffic-choked cities, the cabinet agreed that “very small electric vehicles” with a top speed of up to 20 kilometres per hour will be permitted.
Berlin is hoping the strict rules will help avoid the friction that has marked scooters' appearance elsewhere, including in Paris and Los Angeles.
In Paris, riding on the pavement will now bring a €135 fine for “endangering pedestrians, especially older people and children,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo's office said.
Parking in such a way as to obstruct traffic or pedestrians will mean a €35 fine – but the Paris city council has pledged to build parking spots for 2,500 scooters.
Paris will also start charging operators an annual licence fee of €50 to €65 per scooter, depending on the size of their fleets.
The nine operators currently in the city will also have to sign a “code of good conduct”.