Cities Safety Sustainability Policy •

REVEALED: Paris City Hall study finds e‑scooters are safe and increasingly replace car use

A recently released study by independent research firm 6t, commissioned by the City of Paris, provides a glowing look at shared e-scooter use in the City of Light.

Parisians will head to the polls in a month to vote on the future of shared scooters in the city, and the study - completed a year ago but only revealed last week - shows how much the city may lose.

According to recent polling, more than half of Parisians, from all backgrounds and arrondissements, have used an e-scooter in the city. As the 6t report demonstrates, e-scooters make moving around Paris more accessible and safer, and they reduce emissions, with nearly 20% of rides replacing a car trip.

Shared scooters are a safe option

The 6t study reveals that shared scooters are one of the safest mobility options available in Paris. Compared to Velib riders, scooter users were half as likely to report a safety incident (26% vs 51%). And when an incident did occur, scooter riders were more likely to have a low-severity crash than shared bikes and mopeds.

This echoes a recent study published by Micromobility for Europe, which found that scooters have very low rates of safety incidents (0.015 per 1 million km ridden), on par with bicycles. Lime’s recent safety report for Paris found that only 2% of incidents involved pedestrians - the vast majority of whom required no medical attention - while collisions with motor vehicles account for the vast majority of fatal incidents.

Shared scooters contribute to a sustainable transportation system

In addition to making Paris streets safer, researchers found that 19% of shared scooter trips in Paris replaced a motor vehicle - either a personal car, moped, or taxi or ride hailing service. This is double the amount 6t found in 2019, when mode shift from cars was just 9% of trips.

A few factors may have led to this improvement in e-scooters replacing car trips. First, the city of Paris has dramatically increased bike lanes since 2019, making riding a shared e-scooter more attractive for longer trips. Second, Lime and other operators have introduced more robust, sturdy e-scooter models which are more comfortable to use for longer trips - the average distance of an e-scooter trip in Paris has increased by 50% from summer 2019 to summer 2022. As the city continues to improve conditions for micromobility, and companies continue to improve vehicle hardware, it’s likely the trend of replacing more car trips would continue.

What do these improved car-replacement numbers mean for e-scooters’ sustainability? More than we initially thought.

While 2022 research by German institute Fraunhofer ISI found Lime’s Gen4 e-scooters and e-bikes reduce the carbon emissions of Paris’ transportation system, those findings were based on a lower percentage motor vehicle mode shift (14%) than the 6t report (19%). The higher mode shift number in the City’s report suggests shared e-scooters have an even greater impact on reducing carbon emissions than was found in the Fraunhofer ISI study.

Parisians rely on scooters for commutes

The City of Paris’ report makes clear that e-scooters are predominantly used by locals (75%), with students comprising nearly a third of total riders. And as you might expect of a service used heavily by Parisians, many trips (41%) are taken during commute hours.

What happens next?

When a city takes the drastic step of banning shared e-scooters, locals are forced to look for other options. Atlanta found out the hard way when the city implemented a scooter curfew from 9pm to 4am. It led to increased traffic congestion as people abandoned e-scooters and hopped back into their cars. Researchers at Georgia Tech estimated that the e-scooter curfew caused drivers to spend an extra 10-11% more time in traffic than if the scooter ban hadn’t been in place, adding 2 to 5 minutes per trip on average for all impacted drivers. Those minutes add up - the authors estimate that this translates to between 325,000 and 780,000 additional hours of travel for Atlanta drivers per year.

For a city that has done more than most to cut back on driving and promote clean modes of transportation, this would be a step backward for Paris. As the City’s own study finds, shared e-scooters are a safe, reliable, and sustainable option for Parisians, and it’s up to Parisians now to avoid this future.

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