this bill is in the wrong fight

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Senator Xavier Iacovelli (Renaissance) introduced a bill on Monday, February 6, 2023 to register electric bicycles and motorized personal transportation devices, including electric scooters.

Source: Noralí Nayla via Unsplash

The confinement linked to Covid-19 has definitely turned the way we move around in big cities upside down. Running away from public transport to better protect themselves from the virus and stop its spread has notably pushed users towards bicycles, electric bicycles and also electric scooters.

Since 2020, sales of these machines have continued to break records: 908,000 electric scooters sold in 2021, an increase of 41% year-over-year; 660,000 VAE delivered the same year, a 28% jump in one year. E-bikes accounted for ¼ of bike sales this year.

mandatory registration

Such success inevitably leads to a general increase in bicycle traffic… and by extension in accidents. According to Road Safety figures, in 2021 there were 24 accidental deaths linked to motorized personal transport devices (electric scooters, Segway, hoverboard), compared to 10 in 2019 and 7 in 2020.

This increase must be put into perspective with the explosion of the practice. Still, the issue regularly returns to the forefront of the political scene. And this time, it is the turn of Senator Xavier Iacovelli (Renaissance) to want to move the lines by seeking to make registration mandatory in VAE and electric scooters.

electric scooter
Source: Jonas Augustin via Unsplash

A bill to that effect was presented on Monday, February 6, 2023. It contains the following text:

Every vehicle equipped with a non-thermal engine or non-thermal assistance and whose maximum design speed is greater than 6 km/h and does not exceed 25 km/h, with the exception of vehicles exclusively for people with reduced mobility, must have at least one plate.

To support his proposal, Xavier Iacovelli lists a series of objectives that his law could achieve:

  • Guarantee better control of vehicles and hold users responsible in case of accidents or violations of the Highway Code;
  • Better identify these devices as they are considered “ so many times abandoned on the public road» ;
  • Provide additional means to the police to fight against the excesses that the use of these EPDM can cause.

The second objective mentioned can be puzzling. Perhaps Xavier Iacovelli is referring in this specific case to self-service electric scooters. In this case, it should be remembered that the three Parisian fleets (Tier, Lime and Dott) have been registered since November 2022, at the initiative of the operators.

Figures to put into perspective

In his proposal, Xavier Iacovelli generally adopts an alarmist and distressing discourse. He describes EPDMs as “a source of danger in our cities“, supporting his point with a series of figures: 6,000 injured a year in Paris, Lyon and Marseille, or 459 injured in Paris alone in 2022.

bird scooter electric bike

It is true that incivilities and infractions of the traffic code are daily -as in the car-, but also and above all it is necessary to multiply the cycling infrastructures to better protect users. As explained by the Police Prefecture last year (viac news), EPMD accidents resulting in a collision with a pedestrian represented “only” 18.95% of the cases.

In 30.6% of the cases, the collision occurred with a private vehicle. Likewise, 21.57% of the accidents were related to a fall or contact with an obstacle, without the intervention of any third party. Increasing the number of cycle paths means providing a safer environment for VAE and scooter users.

other priorities

Far be it from us to say that their registration is a mistake, but perhaps elected officials should focus on other more important priorities, such as the multiplication of infrastructures, essential for the security of all. The figures above bear witness to this in a way.

In addition, self-service electric scooters have often been at the center of criticism: young users do not know the Highway Code, public space and pedestrians are not respected. In Paris, a citizen vote organized on April 2 will seal their fate: in case of unfavorable results, they will simply disappear from the landscape.

Bike plan of 250 million euros: the State wants to promote the construction of cycle paths

Le Parisien reveals a cycling plan of 250 million euros destined for the year 2023. The Prime Minister, Élisabeth Borne, should formalize the news on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.
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