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Electric scooters have arrived in Europe – and a lot of people there hate them too



BERLIN – Barely a few months after they were introduced in several of Europe's major cities, the great electric scooter backlash has already begun.

From Paris to Berlin and to Copenhagen, drunken users and poorly parked scooters have provoked the child of visceral hatred of the dockless scooters who became synonymous with their arrival to American cities last year.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, already vowed to put an end to what she called a trend "not far from anarchy" on the roads of the French capital last month. That was before their introduction in neighboring Germany, where newspapers have since captured a nation in crisis: A man trying to steer his e-scooter onto a high-speed motorway, reports of scores of drunk e-scooter drivers and polls showing a deeply divided country.

The early verdict for the scooters in Europe has been harsh. Commentators have decided they are a "dangerous" trend, "madness," and a "pest." They hope that the electric scooters will help reduce the number of cars in congested European cities that were designed long before the advent of motorized vehicles. In less densely populated areas, e-scooters could fill gaps in public transport networks, say recent European reactions to the beginning of the e-scooter era have echoed similar skepticism in the United States. On the rise, including Washington D.C., operators and lawmakers have been flooded with complaints about the potential threat to their pedestrians. In some places, angry residents have taken matters into their own hands and have dumped e-scooters in nearby rivers or lakes. In June, the D.C. The moves have mirrored some of the measures recently taken in European capitals – though attitudes toward the scooters vary widely.


Electric scooters from parked side by side in Stockholm, Sweden July 7, 2019. REUTERS / Esha Vaish (Esha Vaish / Reuters)

In entrepreneur-friendly Stockholm, for instance, there was little opposition when e-scooters were first introduced. But skepticism has mounted amid recent accidents and city officials since called for the creation of rental stations – which would be similar to rental bike racks – to prevent drivers from dumping their scooters in streets and parks across the city. France – where a certain degree of distrust of corporate culture remains part of mainstream politics – authorities have proposed limiting the number of companies that offer scooter rental. The calls for tougher regulations came after Paris faced a surge in the number of companies offering e-scooters, with each of them deploying its own fleet. Within weeks, reported broken scooters dumped in parks and side streets. German authorities have set a high bar for scooter companies to enter the market even before they legalized them.

E-scooters also need to be equipped with insurance claims to meet the requirements of German bureaucracy.

But there was one factor lawmakers did not account for: Europeans' beer. In the Danish capital of Copenhagen, for instance, 28 people faced fines for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs over the weekend. anticipated

Within 24 hours last week, authorities in the German city of Munich caught 24 inxicated e-scooter drivers. One of the most influential drugs was caught after being crashed into a parked vehicle.

Read more:

D.C. proposal aims to ‘control’ e-scooters


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