In an awareness campaign, an association fighting against the risks associated with scooters has placed wheelchairs in parking spaces in Paris. In 2020, 347 accidents involving this “soft mobility” were counted in the capital.
“Soft mobility, well then ! Between the dead and the wounded, sacred sweetness!”. The ras-le-bol is palpable at the end of the line. Jean-René Albertin recounts the accident of his wife, hit in May 2019 by an electric scooter, in the middle of the Jardin des Halles in Paris. He has since become president of the philanthropic association against urban anarchy vector of incivility (APACAUVI), a structure he founded in the wake of the accident to help the victims of this accident. “whatever”.
Assistance is provided mainly at the legal level. It is not easy to assert your rights following this type of accident. “Scooter riders usually run away, no way to find them, and when you do, they’re usually insolvent.” Over the past two years, around sixty cases have been reported to them, and the association does not only focus on scooters, bike enthusiasts are also in their sights, or the pilots of “one wheel tricks”, the gyroroues.
A shock campaign was therefore necessary according to the association, and it was the communication agency MullenLowe who actually came up with the idea. Relatives of the boss of this company had been victims of these “drivers on wheels”, action had to be taken.
First operation, last November 28 and 29: in the 10th arrondissement, at lunchtime, wheelchairs were placed in scooter parking spaces. On the seats, one could read: “one means of transport can lead to another”. The message is clear.
Same thing last December 2, in the 9e district this time, then a few days later following a fatal accident in Essonne of a scooter having hit a dump truck. “Some users, initially irritated by our initiative, finally understood our approach by talking to us”, explains Bastien Bourdier, the artistic director of this campaign. “We are not against these devices”, says the 31-year-old boy, “we just want to raise awareness of the risks associated with non-prudent use”.
“Seeing them driving flat out on the sidewalks, or not stopping at red lights, is no longer possible”, adds Jean-René Albertin for his part. “And all without a license plate!”. Last year, 347 accidents related to the use of these machines were counted in the capital.
The president of APACAUVI asks the municipalities to take their responsibilities, to increase controls in particular, and to create a fund to help victims since it is “the anarchy”. “These dangerous behaviors are selfish”, he castigates in his telephone diatribe, “they cause accidents, and not just scratches! My pianist wife could no longer play her instrument for a year (…) The town hall of Paris keeps talking about the environment, but the environment is what? The environment is about living together, isn’t it?
David Belliard, Anne Hidalgo’s deputy in charge of mobility immediately reframes the debate: “in terms of statistics, serious accidents are peanuts!”. For the elected official, the question is above all that of regulation. “We want to regulate the speed, the number and the use”. To be concrete, he lists the measures already taken in this direction: a speed of 10km / h maximum intramural, 20km on the main roads, with 15,000 self-service scooters, and not one more, 5,000 per brand therefore ( Lime, Dott and Tier are the three operators in the capital).
The ecologist finally insists: the objective is above all to reduce the feeling of insecurity, that is what, according to him, “the heart of the problem”. To find 100% pedestrian sidewalks, the deputy, who does not use these machines personally, speaks of the need to create parking areas. He also mentions a “rise in charge of the municipal police” but not to mention an increase in staff, however, or new sanctions. So we won’t know any more.
For his part, Jean-René Albertin did not finish on the phone: “and why not a BCR for bicycles and scooters? as for motorcycles! A road safety certificate, that’s one of the solutions. After all, all we ask is that these people respect the highway code!”.
With seven dead and 774 injured last year in France, these new vehicles have not finished causing controversy. Eleven deaths have so far been counted in 2021.
And if certain municipalities, such as Paris, regulate self-service machines, in “free floating” as they say, that is to say those that are found everywhere on the sidewalks and in the streets, we must not forget the thousands of private vehicles. These are not all restrained, or very often easily unrestrained, “a children’s game” it seems. And thata also, it has the gift of annoying the president of APACAUVI: “csome even drive faster than cars”, he lets go to conclude, before a long silence all in sighs… “What a scandal!”