Rented electric scooters are being forced to slow down to just above walking speed in many areas of Paris under new rules coming into force on Monday, scooter rental operators said.
In 700 areas in the French capital, including around key tourist attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre museum, rental scooter speed is now capped at 10 kilometres per hour.
Scooters run by rental companies Dott, Tier and Lime, tracked in real time by geo-location, will automatically be slowed down to half their normal top speed once they enter the designated areas.
The main criteria for picking the zones was the strong presence of pedestrians, the operators said in a joint statement.
They included parks, gardens, streets near schools, squares in front of public buildings and of places of worship, pedestrian streets and busy shopping areas.
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City hall threatened the three private operators that it would renew their licences only if they made progress towards speed limits, and also got users to park the scooters in designated areas instead of dumping them on streets and pavements at the end of the rental period.
The death in June of a 32-year-old Italian woman hit by a scooter in a pedestrian area prompted demands for tighter regulation for the vehicles.
On Monday David Belliard, Paris deputy mayor in charge of transport, told AFP that the new restrictions were “a first step, but nowhere near enough”.
More slow-speed zones were needed, he said, including in areas where pedestrians, cyclists and scooter riders share spaces such as on the hugely popular banks of the Saint-Martin canal and of the river Seine, long stretches of which are car-free.
Every Paris district would supply a list of desired slow zones over the coming weeks, which would be passed on to the operators.
The three operators have meanwhile made progress towards addressing the often anarchical parking of scooters. They now require users to take a picture proving that they dropped off the scooter in the right place, and have also created a joint 12-person task force to pick up scooters left randomly in the street.