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Watch: Paris scooter crackdown comes too late for injured pianist

The French capital has 20,000 scooters from 12 operators
The French capital has 20,000 scooters from 12 operators Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Euronews with AP
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The French capital has 20,000 scooters and its pavements have become a battleground between riders and pedestrians. For pianist Isabelle Vanbrabant, 60, any regulations have come too late


Paris is cracking down on electric scooters after an anarchic year in which startups flooded the city's streets with their vehicles.

The French capital has 12 free-floating scooter operators, more than the entire United States, according to a study released on Thursday, and about 20,000 of the two-wheeled vehicles.

Broken scooters end up in some of the city's famed gardens or are even tossed over bridges into the Seine, and the city's sidewalks have become something of a battleground between riders and pedestrians.

Mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Thursday that electric scooters have fallen into a legal grey zone.

After repeated complaints and a spate of injuries and near-misses, the mayor and police want to limit speeds to 20 kilometres per hour (12 mph) in most areas, and 8 kilometres per hour (5 mph) in areas with heavy foot traffic, and prohibit parking anywhere but designated spaces.

Hidalgo also plans to limit the number of operators to three and cap the number of scooters.

The city already imposes €135-euro fines for riding on the pavement and €35 fines for blocking the pavement while parked. Operators are charged by the city for any broken scooters that need to be picked up by municipal workers.

The pianist at Paris' famed Opera was walking home from work last month across a square near Les Halles, in the city centre, when a rider on an electric scooter came up from behind, knocking her over and continuing on his way.

She said: "I was thrown down on the ground on my right arm. So I had my arm broken on several places; the radius, the ulna, a bone pullout and a dislocated hand. I immediately knew it was serious.

"I need this hand, I need to have it back. The diagnosis is uncertain. We have to wait to see how it's healing and then I will need to go under physiotherapy which will certainly be difficult and delicate. So I don't think I will be able to play anymore before the next school year, next September. But today I can't be sure and neither [can] the doctors."

Speaking at a press conference, Hidalgo said: "Every week there are new accidents, disabled people are having issues on sidewalks, a mother and a newborn are hit while crossing the street, a woman is hit in a public park causing her multiple hand fractures, so this cannot go on. My duty as mayor is to defend these victims and prevent [there being] new ones."

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Video editor • Christophe Pitiot

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