Senator Xavier Iacovelli (Renaissance) tabled a bill on Monday, February 6, 2023 to register electric bicycles and motorized personal transport devices, including electric scooters.
The confinement linked to Covid-19 has definitely turned the way we move around in big cities upside down. Fleeing public transport to better protect themselves from the virus and stem its spread has notably pushed users towards cycling, electric bikes 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% from one year to another; 660,000 VAE delivered the same year, a jump of 28% over one year. Electric bikes accounted for ¼ of bike sales this year.
Such a success inevitably leads to an overall increase in cycle traffic… and by extension in accidents. According to road safety figures, 24 accidental deaths linked to motorized personal transport devices (electric scooter, Segway, hoverboard) were recorded in 2021, compared to 10 in 2019 and 7 in 2020.
This increase should be put into perspective with the explosion of the practice. Still, the subject 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 the license plate compulsory on VAEs and electric scooters.
A bill to this effect was tabled on Monday, February 6, 2023. It contains the following text:
Any vehicle equipped with a non-thermal engine or non-thermal assistance and whose maximum speed by design is greater than 6 km/h and does not exceed 25 km/h, with the exception of vehicles intended exclusively for people with reduced mobility, must have at least one license plate.
To support his proposal, Xavier Iacovelli lists a series of objectives that his law could achieve:
- Ensure better control of vehicles and hold users accountable in the event of accidents or violations of the Highway Code;
- Better identify these devices, as they are considered “ as often abandoned on the public highway» ;
- Give additional means to the police in order to fight against the excesses that the use of these EPDMs can cause.
The second objective cited may be perplexing. Perhaps Xavier Iacovelli is referring in this specific case to self-service electric scooters. In this case, it should be recalled 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 takes an alarmist and anxiety-provoking discourse. He describes EPDMs as “a source of danger in our cities“, supporting his point with a series of figures: 6,000 injured per year in Paris, Lyon and Marseille, or 459 injured in Paris alone in 2022.
Admittedly, incivility and violations of the highway code are daily – as in the car -, but it is also and above all necessary to multiply the cycling infrastructures to better protect users. As the Prefecture of Police explained last year (viaC news), EPMD accidents resulting in a collision with a pedestrian accounted for “only” 18.95% of cases.
In 30.6% of cases, the collision took place with a private vehicle. Also, 21.57% of accidents were related to a fall or contact with an obstacle, without any third party intervening. Increasing the number of cycle paths means providing a safer environment for users of VAEs and scooters.
Far be it from us to say that their registration is a mistake, but elected officials should perhaps focus on other more important priorities, such as the multiplication of infrastructures, essential to everyone’s safety. The figures above bear witness to this in a way.
In addition, self-service electric scooters have often been at the heart of criticism: young users not aware of the Highway Code, public space and pedestrians not respected. In Paris, a citizen vote organized on April 2 will seal their fate: in the event of unfavorable results, they will simply disappear from the landscape.
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