Since 2010 Paris has made a concrete commitment to creating a priority place for bicycles in the city with a view to doubling the number of cyclists by 2020. Since 2010 the Bike Plan has steered initiatives in favour of this active means of transport. With the Paris Climate Plan re-updated in 2012 and its goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fuel consumption, bikes have definitely come into their own in Paris!
Cyclists in Paris can now enjoy 700 km of cycle tracks, continuing to increase until 2020, and dedicated and safe parking spaces. In 2012, the City installed more than 4,200 extra spaces and considered installing “bike stations” near train stations and major public transport hubs. It also encouraged the construction of bike shelters in new buildings and in company car parks. This network is optimised to provide consistent, continuous and comfortable links between major Paris focal points, residential areas and work districts, while not forgetting Paris’ two woods.
Vélib’ is the major Paris bike success story. Launched in July 2007, 6 years later this bike share service had 260,000 subscribers and an average of nearly 95,000 journeys registered per day. The service has now been extended to neighbouring communes in the metropolitan area. Since June 2013 a new reduced rate has been introduced for the unemployed and a preferential tariff is also available for the young generation. Since June 2014 P’tit Vélib’ has appeared in Paris woods and gardens to enable 2-8 year-old children to learn to cycle, and the electric Vélib’ will soon be tested.
Driving rules have changed progressively to make cycling a safer and more seamless experience for cyclists. Two-way traffic in zones limited to 30 km/h and “give way to cyclist” signs at traffic lights in quiet zones have been generalised to the Paris area, and the “turn right” system at red lights is being tested at certain intersections. A special sign system has also been developed with signposts, logos and road marking. At the same time, since 2013 and until the end of 2014, in order to encourage people to practice cycling Paris has subsidised the purchase of electric bicycles with up to 33% of the initial price and a ceiling of 400 euros.
Lastly, La Maison du Vélo is a dedicated space providing answers to all cycling questions and support for those who wish to improve their cycling and those in search of traffic maps. A range of smartphone applications has appeared to facilitate cycling on a day-to-day basis.
The new Bike Plan will be finalised next December for the 5 coming years. Since 2001 the number of bikes in the capital has tripled but they still represent only 3% of journeys. With the 2015-2020 Bike Plan the City is setting a target of 15% of journeys by bike by 2020. To achieve this goal: more parking spaces for cyclists at each intersection and near focal centres such as museums, libraries, social centres and certain educational establishments.