Paris is Re-Proving ‘Build it and They Will Come!’

Paris / France

Cycling advocates around the world know that if they can overcome entrenched resistance and actually get protected facilities installed, the riders will come.

Now a recent study by the Paris city government has found that new cyclists account for almost six in ten users of pop-up cycle lanes in Paris, installed first in response to a public transport strike last winter with the network subsequently enlarged due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The study also revealed that prior to the pop-up bike lanes being put in place, women made up 36 per cent of cyclists in Paris, which has now risen to 41 per cent.

The proportion of women among new cyclists will therefore, by implication, be even higher – and as studies around the world have consistently shown, perception of danger is one of the biggest barriers to getting more women cycling, and providing safe infrastructure is regularly near the top of the wish list of those who would like to ride bikes.

Meanwhile, 87 per cent of cyclists said they were happy with the cycle lanes realised to date, with their most favoured aspects of them being the speed and fluidity of bike traffic that they allow, as well as the greater feeling of safety they provide.

Watch the video snapshot below of the Rue de Rivoli which is the main shopping street in Paris, formerly full of cars and now largely allocated to cyclists:

According to a survey commissioned by Réseau Action Climat and conducted last August, 62 per cent of residents of Grand Paris – the wider metropolitan area with a population of more than 7 million people – favour temporary cycle lanes being made permanent, something Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo committed to last year.

A longer version of this article was first published in (UK)

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