In Paris, the bicycle could dethrone the car in 2025

The chorus dates from 1972. “In Paris, by bike, we overtake the cars”, sang Joe Dassin in his Rush hour complaint. Fifty years later, the formula may soon find new meaning, and trips made by bicycle will outnumber those made by car. The two curves could cross from 2024, and cycling trips will clearly dominate by 2026, according to the projections unveiled, Thursday, October 21, by the town hall of Paris.

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“This is what we want, assumes David Belliard, deputy environmentalist in charge of travel and public space. The bicycle already represents 5.6% of trips in Paris, against 9% for the car. On certain roads, there are sometimes more cyclists than motorists, but it is still exceptional. ” The ambition of the red-pink-green alliance which runs the capital is that the two curves are reversed as quickly as possible, in the name of public health and the fight against climate change.

For now, the bicycle is far from having dethroned the automobile, especially on rainy days. However, the anti-car policy of the Parisian left has already significantly reduced intra-muros traffic. Car traffic has fallen by around 45% since the election of Bertrand Delanoë in 2001. And the movement continues, fueled by the measures that are accumulating, even if the right-wing opposition is reluctant. Like the speed limit to 30 km / h in almost all of Paris since August 30. Or the creation of a “limited traffic zone” in the center of the capital, expected in 2022, with the objective of halving road traffic.

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In the opposite direction, the bicycle has begun its big comeback in the streets of Paris. Since 2020, confinements have accelerated the phenomenon, with the emergency installation of 52 kilometers of temporary cycle paths. The frequentation of cycle paths jumped by 47% in 2020, and again by 22% in 2021. Now, the socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo and her environmental allies want to further amplify the movement. This is the meaning of the “cycling plan” presented Thursday by David Belliard, and submitted to the next Council in Paris, in mid-November.

Achieve a dense, safe and practical network of equipment

The town hall has planned to devote 250 million euros to it over six years. This is 100 million euros less than the 350 million promised by Anne Hidalgo during her electoral campaign in 2020. But, given the budgetary difficulties in Paris, environmentalists feared worse. They also feared that the mayor would not want to commit to a multi-year plan, she who in June gave up presenting an investment program for the entire term. At the end of several months of negotiations, socialists and ecologists finally agreed on this envelope of 250 million euros, lower than the promises, but higher than the 150 million of the “bicycle plan” launched during the previous mandate of Hidalgo. The bicycle was obviously considered a priority. A political marker. Other assistants are not so satisfied with the arbitrations rendered in recent weeks.

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