|Electric Scooters in Paris, France|
|Trottinettes (electric scooters) are all over Paris now in the tens of thousands. They're a great cheap, easy, fast, ecological way to get around the city, but you must observe the rules—or pay heavy fines.|
Shared electric scooters have proliferated in Paris during the past few years. Officially termed trottinettes electriques en libre-service, you'll also hear them called scouteurs in Franglais. (The official name is Engins de déplacement personnel motorisés (Personal Motorized Travel Devices), or EDPM, which incudes electric scooters and unicycles, hoverboards and all other small motorized travel devices.
They're everywhere now, with up to 40,000 on the streets of Paris. They're a useful addition to the city's ecologically-sensitive transportation system, allowing people to travel around Paris quickly and efficiently without using cars.
But there has been widespread misuse of them, traffic accidents, and even deaths (7 in 2020, 22 in 2021), so the City of Paris has enacted strict safety regulations for their use, and has even considered banning them; but so far, this experiment in ecological personal transport has survived.
Riding Electric Scooters in Paris
Download the smartphone app of your choice, register as a user, and consult the app to find the nearest available scooter—it probably won't be far away.
The scooters, which can attain speeds of 24 kph (14.8 mph)—four times average walking speed—must be ridden on roadways and in Paris's ubiquitous bike lanes.
It is illegal to ride them on sidewalks!
At the end of your ride, you must park the scooter in a place and manner dictated by law, or you will be held responsible for an infraction.
(See below for more rules & regulations.)
Helmets are not generally provided as part of a scooter rental, but it's strongly recommended to wear a helmet when riding a scooter. The City of Paris also recommends that you wear a reflective vest (gilet réfléchissant), at least at night or in conditions of poor visibility.
You're riding on city streets, in traffic, and every other vehicle is bigger, heavier, and faster than yours. If there is a collision—and there are always collisions—the scooter rider is always the loser. The number of deaths of scooter riders climbs every year.
Traffic Laws & Regulations
Scooters are subject to the same laws and regulations as bicycles and motorcycles. The proliferation of trottinettes—and their misuse—has caused the city government to undertake enforcement actions of the regulations regarding their use.
1. Illegal to Ride Scooters on Sidewalks!
Scooters must be ridden in bike lanes and on roadways on which the speed limit is 50 km/h (31 mph) or lower.
You must obey all traffic signs, signals and regulations just like any other motorized vehicle.
Riding on sidewalks (trottoirs) exposes pedestrians, especially children, the elderly, and the handicapped, to danger, and is prohibited. Infractions are subject to a penalty (procès-verbal) of 135€ (about US$140).
2. Maximum Speed: 20 km/h
The maximum speed allowed is 25 km/h (about 15.5 mph), or 10 or 20 km/h, about 6 to 12.5 mph, in some areas. (In fact, the e-scooter rental company may automatically slow the speed of your vehicle in high-density areas, based on geo-location.) The penalty for exceeding these limits is 1500€! Many scooters have top speeds of 32 km/h (20 mph), so don't ride them at top speed.
3. One Rider per Scooter
Only one person (age 12 or older) is allowed to ride a scooter. Those found riding two on one scooter are subject to a fine of 135€ (about US$140).
4. Park Only in Designated Areas
Do not leave your scooter on a sidewalk or other pedestrian area!
The City of Paris has delimited 2,500 special free parking places for scooters (see the photos on this page of scooters in their parking places.) You may also park them in payable motor vehicle (car) and motorcycle (deux roues) parking areas—but you don't need to pay.
The last rider of a scooter improperly parked on a sidewalk or other unauthorized area may be subject to a fine of 35€ (about US$36.40). (Remember: the scooter company knows who used the scooter last.)