From Paris to Berlin, European cities are searching for ways to deal with a trend that is affecting cities worldwide: Electric scooters.
Supporters say scooters are a jump into the future and a fun way to travel without creating pollution.
Critics, on the other hand, note growing numbers of injuries and even deaths involving e-scooters.
Scooters in Europe
European countries are dealing with scooters in different ways.
Paris has many e-scooter companies, and France’s capital has at least 20,000 scooters traveling on its streets.
This week, the French government met with the victims of scooter accidents as it prepares new rules.
The rules, expected in September, will likely place speed limits of about 20 kilometers an hour in most areas, and eight kilometers an hour in areas where many people walk.
Nationwide, fines for speeding could go up to $1,680.
Berlin, Germany’s capital, legalized electric scooters two months ago. The government quickly realized it needed new rules.
Last week, city officials announced plans for parking areas for scooters, which riders often leave on sidewalks.
In southeastern Europe’s Balkan countries, e-scooters are still operating in a legal gray zone -- except for Slovenia.
The country is working on legislation that will restrict the devices to pedestrian areas and bicycle lanes.
The rules will restrict speeds to 25 kilometers an hour, but in pedestrian areas, electric scooters will have to stay at the speed of a walking person.
Scooters will be subject to the same rules as bicycles. And underage scooter riders will be required to have to have lights and helmets.
Scooters in the United States
Europe is not the only area struggling with how to deal with scooters.
They are increasingly becoming an issue of debate in the United States.
Scooter companies, in many cases, deployed the devices throughout major American cities without permission or permits.
A recent report by the National Association of City Transportation Officials noted that in 2018, Americans took 38.5 million trips on shared electric scooters.
However, the future of rules for scooters in the U.S. remains an open question.
I’m John Russell.
Words in This Story
trend –n. something that is currently popular
scooter – n. a vehicle that is made of a narrow board with two small wheels attached underneath and an upright handle attached on top
gray zone – n. an area of uncertainty
pedestrian – n. a person who is walking in a city, along a road, etc.
underage – adj. too young to do something legally