Electric scooters have arrived in Europe — and a lot of people aren’t happy
BERLIN — Barely a few months after they were introduced in several of Europe’s storied capital cities, the great electric scooter backlash has already begun.
From Paris to Berlin and to Copenhagen, drunken users and poorly parked scooters have provoked the kind of visceral hatred of the dockless scooters that became synonymous with their arrival in American cities last year.
The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, already vowed to put an end to what she called a trend ‘‘not far from anarchy’’ on the roads of the French capital last month. That was before their introduction in neighboring Germany, where newspapers have since captured a nation in crisis: A man trying to steer his e-scooter onto a high-speed motorway, reports of scores of drunk e-scooter drivers, and polls showing a deeply divided country.
The early verdict for the scooters in Europe has been harsh. Commentators have decided they are a ‘‘dangerous’’ trend, ‘‘madness,’’ and a ‘‘pest.’’
But supporters of e-scooters say that the initial woes can be overcome and are outweighed by the potential benefits. They hope that the electric scooters will help reduce the number of cars in congested European cities that were designed long before the advent of motorized vehicles. In less densely populated areas, e-scooters could fill gaps in public transport networks, proponents say.
Recent European reactions to the beginning of the e-scooter era have echoed similar skepticism in the United States. They have been banned in Cambridge and Somerville.