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Paris gets tough on electric scooters

Lime-S electric scooters of US transportation company Lime are pictured in front of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris on April 1, 2019.
Lime-S electric scooters of US transportation company Lime are pictured in front of Notre-Dame de Paris Cathedral in Paris on April 1, 2019. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

Paris authorities announced a ban on parking electric scooters on the pavement, in a new crackdown on the fashionable two-wheeled contraptions as pedestrians complain of growing safety risks.

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Scooters "must be left in parking spaces designated for cars and motorised two-wheel vehicles", the city's mayor Anne Hidalgo said in a press conference.

She also banned scooters from parks and gardens in a string of measures which will start coming into force from next month.

Apps such as Lime, Bolt, Wind and Flash -- whose scooters have invaded streets in recent months -- should also cut speed limits to 20 km/h (12 mph) around the capital, or 8 km/h (5 mph) in pedestrian areas, Hidalgo said.

Around 20,000 electric scooters have appeared on the French capital's streets since last year, causing tensions that have also been seen in cities worldwide from Madrid to Los Angeles.

Fans have embraced scooters as a quick and cheap way to get around, since the "dockless" devices are unlocked with a phone app and can be left anywhere when a ride is finished.

That is exactly the problem, critics say, pointing to scooters strewn across the city's stately squares or abandoned in piles littering narrow sidewalks, to the bane of people hauling groceries or pushing prams.

Paris has already introduced fines of €135 euros for riding electic scooters on the pavement.

They have also been used as makeshift weapons by protesters who have hurled them at police in the weekly "yellow vest" protests which erupted last November.

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