Published by Andrew on 2 October 2018
A bold cycling strategy has been announced in France to get more French people on their bikes.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has announced a bold new cycling strategy aimed at getting more French people on their bikes.
The plan – which will see the French government invest hundreds of millions of euro in cycling infrastructure – earmarks funding to make France an even more attractive place to cycle.
The strategy will see the creation of a National Cycling Fund to pump some €350 million over 7 years into the creation of new bike paths and into the improvement of existing cycling networks. The fund will be administered by ADEME, the national agency responsible for climate change and the transition towards more ecologically sound forms of energy and transport. The fund will be open to towns and cities across the country from 2019.
In parallel, there will be a focus on providing education to nurture the development of a culture that focuses on the bicycle as a form of transport for school children. Cycling education to promote mobility among children will be run in conjunction with anti-theft programs, including measures such as making bicycle marking mandatory.
There will also be tax incentives of up to €400 for employees to encourage bicycle commuting.
The strategy – which aims to triple the modal share of the bicycle from 3% to 9% of all trips in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics – recognises that the bicycle is a non-polluting, inexpensive and accessible mode of transport for everyone.
More people ride a bike for leisure and on holidays in France than ski, but its use as a form of transportation has stagnated in line with its rise in popularity as a social and holiday activity.
Between the 1970s and the 2000s, the bike went from accounting for 10% of commuting trips to just 3%. That compares to 7% across the rest of the EU.
Only 2% of the active population uses a bike to get to work, and the car remains king even for distances of less than 5km. However there are exceptions in cities such as Strasbourg, Bordeaux and Grenoble, where the bicycle's modal share exceeds 10%.
The government's new cycling strategy aims to bring the rest of France into line with these 'cycling cities', and it follows a long and ongoing campaign by the French cycling lobby group FUB.