They already abound on the roads of the biggest French cities. Now, they're also found in their waters. In Lyon, the carcasses of these devices can be seen by the dozen along the Rhône riverside, causing locals to worry about the growing trend.
Environmental group Odysseus 3.1 is calling on electric scooter operators to put together better safeguards to prevent scooters from ending up at the bottom of the Rhône. Odysseus 3.1 led a clean-up operation on Sunday that recovered 109 scooters from the river in a perimeter of 300 metres within a few hours.
Once out of the water, the scooters were taken by a representative of one of the companies offering the service in the Lyon area who will be responsible for giving them backs to their owners.
For e-scooter operators, the phenomenon poses a public relations nightmare. There is growing concern that the lithium batteries could pollute the water if they leaked. The concerns prompted the general manager of VOI France — one of the operators in the city — to tell journalists: “There is no liquid in the batteries. (…) Once the scooter is recovered, there is no pollution in the water”.
Lyon is not the only French city facing the problem. Sunken e-scooters have also been found in Paris and Marseille. In the southern French city, the trend of throwing e-scooters into the water became so bad during the summer that some associations hired mediators to try and put an end to the practice by reaching out to potential users.
As a result, more and more people are now calling on major players in the sector to rethink their business model — like introducing parking lots where locked e-scooters cannot be removed from.