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New French law to ban electric scooters on pavements

Depuis mai 2018, les ventes de trottinettes électriques explosent, en même temps que les applications de location en libre service.
Depuis mai 2018, les ventes de trottinettes électriques explosent, en même temps que les applications de location en libre service. AFP/François Guillot

French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne announces that the use of electric scooters on pavements will be banned and punishable by a fine of 135 euros starting next autumn, in an interview published Saturday by Le Parisien.

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In a victory for pedestrians, this means that pavements will now be much safer places to walk without being in danger of getting run down by an electric scooter that has speeds of up to 25 km/h.

This measure is part of a new set of rules governing the circulation of ‘motorised personal transport equipment’ (EDPM) such as electric scooters, monorails, gyropods or hoverboards.

These rules will be included in a draft decree, prepared by the Ministries of Interior and Transport, which will be presented to the National Standards Assessment Council and then to the State Council.

New provisions include a ban on driving with a vehicle whose speed is not limited to 25 km/h and the obligation to use bicycle paths, if any, or to use roads limited to 50 km/h in urban areas.

Motorised traffic on sidewalks will be fully prohibited in France unless an individual mayor takes steps to authorise it in their district. On a pavement, the machine must therefore be used only manually with the engine switched off.

Outside urban areas, however, EDPM traffic will be banned on roads, and limited to greenways and bicycle paths.

No more passengers

On the other hand, the decree provides for a minimum age of 8 years to be allowed to drive an EDPM. And you will no longer be able to romantically take your latest paramour onboard your scooter. The new degree prohibits the carriage of passengers.

The use of headphones whilst operating an EDPM is also banned and users under 12 will have to wear a helmet, as with bicycles.

Among the mandatory equipment, the EDPMs must have front and rear lights, brakes and an audible warning device.

The development of EDPMs “meets a need for mobility”, says Borne, stressing that “these machines do not pollute”. But their development “was very rapid and a little anarchic,” continues the Minister of Transport, who notes that “it has indeed become the law of the jungle”.

“This decree will make it possible to set very simple rules that will allow a more responsible use of these devices,” explains Borne.

“Our main objective is that pedestrians no longer walk the pavements in fear of getting run down.”

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