Dec 12th, 2018, 04:00 PM

Liming Away

By Amanuel Neguede
Image Credit: Sarah Petersen
Micro-mobility: four crucial tips on how to become a safe Limer

When the electric scooters were mentioned in the Peacock News Room, Editor-in-Chief Katerina McGrath screamed out “I’ve been liming away man!” And she hasn’t been the only one. It is not hard to find these little white and green scooters in front of combes or other AUP building. Lime, Bird, Bolt, and Wind have conquered the market without prior notice. The e-scooters, which are electrically charged and powered, have submerged in the French capital, and whether you like them or not, it seems like they are here to stay. Laws and regulations over the issue are still shaky at the time. Government officials are currently working on forming appropriate regulations for the e-scooters. People will be “liming away,” often irresponsibly.

The two teenagers riding together on the same e-scooter, with his friend barely holding behind. The “businessman” in his suit with a briefcase across the handlebar on his way to work. Or your college professor carefully riding down rue de l'Universite with a helmet on. Everyone seems to be loving them. Yet some Parisians are not happy about the new e-scooters. They’re not alone, numerous government officials have voiced their concerns regarding the electric, fast-moving e-scooters. But no prior agreements were made that would keep this new phenomenon under control, and therefore it is hard to keep users accountable.

Because no one can officially be held accountable, the angry Parisians have taken the matter into their own hands. Whenever they get the chance, they are destroying these electrical engines, throwing them off and out of buildings - these angry pedestrians are trying to show the world that birds actually don’t fly.

On only the Lime e-scooter, there have already been over six million trips. But this fun and short commutes remains very dangerous and has already cost the lives of three people. Andrea Duato, an AUP sophomore, was recently hit by a car, and while she was lucky enough to only get a broken thumb, certain accidents remain fatal. According to the French Interior Ministry, the number of accidents has increased this year by 23% and 2018 isn’t over yet.

There are ways to use these e-scooters carefully, respecting the laws already set up for non-motorized scooters. Remaining courteous to the pedestrians shouldn’t be a rule, it should be a norm. As of today, electric scooters are not classified in any traffic laws but as they operate on the streets, where some basic laws apply. Here are four tips on how to become a safe rider:

Lime instructions for engaging in regular traffic. Image credit: Lime

1 - Do not ride on the streets: According to French law, besides automobiles, only bicycles are allowed on the streets. Scooter riders are considered pedestrians, meaning you should use the sidewalk. Cross at the crosswalks and don't maneuver through traffic. Angry Parisian pedestrians have caused that you will be able to use e-scooters in bus lanes, as many sidewalks are too narrow.

Lime instructions for scooting on the street. Image credit: Lime

2 - Know your speed: e-scooters fall in the category of pedestrians, and its speed should therefore also be similar to that of someone walking or jogging, which is between six to 10 kilometers an hour. E-scooters can go up to 25 km/h on a flat surface - a speed that requires you to register your vehicle so that it can have a license plate, according to the Mairie de Paris. If you're going too fast, there is a chance you'll be pulled over by a cop and have to pay a €135 fine.

Lime instructions for engaging with pedestrians. Image credit: Lime

3 - Park properly: the e-scooter have an app, with which you activate your ride. The app also helps you locate e-scooters near you that are available - which makes it incredibly inconvenient if you find that the e-scooter you were walking to, was inside a building where someone kept it safe for later use. Besides not parking your e-scooter in privatized parking, you shouldn't leave them out in the middle of the sidewalk either. While they are fairly light, not everyone is able to move them, and for some, it can block their passageway, such as for people on crutches or in a wheelchair. The Parisian sidewalk without e-scooters in the way is a challenge alone.

Lime instructions for driving safely. Image credit: Lime

4 - Do not ride with another person on the same e-scooter: The majority of the scooters that circulate in France are older versions, compared to those seen in the United States. An American tourist, Zach Richardson, explains that "these are the old models," they no longer exist in the U.S. Numerous incidents have been reported of wheels falling off of the e-scooter mid-ride. For your own safety, please refrain from adding any extra weight to the old machine.

In order to keep the e-scooters fun, be a smart driver, an even smarter parker, and respect the pedestrians.