The Independent reports “Isabelle Vanbrabant was walking home through a park one spring evening in Paris when an electric scooter crashed into her, breaking the pianist’s wrist in two places. Beronique Kilebasa was crossing a street with her seven-week-old baby strapped to her chest when a man riding a similar scooter collided into her, knocking them both to the ground. In another incident, a scooter sped through a red light and straight into an 81-year-old man, killing him.
All three accidents happened within weeks of each other, resulting from the thousands of electric scooters – or “trottinettes” as they are known locally – that have filled the streets of the French capital over the last year. For Vanbrabant, the accident has come at the cost of her career as a pianist at the famed Paris Opera.”
“The pavement is no longer a safe place for pedestrians,” she says. “The evening I went to hospital for my injury, there were 10 other accidents in the emergency room caused by these scooters – five injured riders and five injured pedestrians.”
San Francisco-based startup Lime was the first to begin rolling out electric scooters in Paris in June 2018. Being cheap, relatively green, and needing only a smartphone and a credit card to use, Parisians and tourists were quick to adopt them. But since they were first introduced, more than 20,000 of the two-wheeled machines have now taken up residence on the city’s pavements, streets and boulevards.
While Lime is still the largest operator, it now shares the market with 11 separate competitors – more than any other city around the world – and the huge influx has riled some residents. Jérôme Courmet , the mayor of Paris’s 13th arrondissement, called for “enough of this bullshit” in a sternly worded video recently posted to Twitter.
“Scooter operators, look at me in the eye,” the video begins. “Electric scooters being poorly parked on the pavement is over.” In the background, a task force set up by Courmet is seen loading the scooters onto the back of a truck to be taken away.
At the Lime offices in Paris, they are well aware of the carnage their two-wheeled machines are causing on the streets outside. When asked about Parisians being fed up with the way people are using their scooters, Lime’s head of international communications Paloma Castro throws up her hands and says “so are we”.
By way of expressing this, the startup launched an unconventional ad campaign across the city in June. Slogans currently adorning bus stops and metro billboards include “Crap scooters”, “I’m sick of these scooters”, and “These scooters are a real pain in the arse”.