ROME – How to make electric scooters safer in our cities? In Paris there are even plans to abolish those for hire with the referendum promoted by the mayor Anne Hidalgo although she is a staunch environmentalist. In Italy, the Minister for Infrastructure Matteo Salvini is instead working on a new highway code with a maximum speed limit of 20 km/h and a possible introduction of license plate, insurance and casco obligations, while some deputies from Fratelli d’ Italy have just presented a bill to regulate the micro-mobility sector, always in the name of safety.
In Rome, Milan or Paris, the problem is the same: anyone driving a free-flow scooter, i.e. rented from one of the operators present, is too often the perpetrator of accidents, infractions and acts of incivility such as abandoning of the vehicle on the sidewalks. In Paris at least this last point has mostly been solved with technology: all the scooters of the three companies present – Lime, Dott and Tier – must be parked in special spaces, otherwise you continue to pay. The referendum promoted by the mayor, amidst many controversies, obviously does not concern private individuals. For the rest, in the French capital as in Rome, the casual use of the “trottinette” by two and too often without respecting the road rules is a growing risk for the entire community, “it is the cause of one in five serious accidents” according to the French Minister of Transport. In Paris there were 408 accidents with these mini two-wheelers in 2022 according to the prefecture, an increase of 28% on 2021 (when there were 318).
In early March, the Transport Ministry unveiled a plan to regulate the use of free-flow electric scooters, in controversy with Hidalgo’s “pour ou contre” referendum: minimum rental age to be raised from 12 to 14 or 16 years, license plate and arrows on the vehicle, more checks but not the obligation to wear a helmet. In Italy, the bill proposed by the Fdi deputies is broader and concerns not only scooters, but any means of transport on wheels, whether electric or not, so that knowledge of the traffic rules, an adequate protection system both for the driver and for any passengers (if any) in addition to the insurance and the license plate or similar element that makes the vehicle unambiguously identifiable at sight”.
In short, says Andrea Mascaretti, the first signatory of the proposal, “the same rules for all those who travel with a motor vehicle on the road: license, helmet, number plate and insurance”. Regulate and not abolish, the choice of Paris is yet another.