Paris will soon become even more welcoming to bikes as the city authorities extend the 30km/h speed limit to the whole city.
About two-thirds of the city’s streets were already 30km/h limited, but by the end of August 2021, it will apply to all streets except the ring road surrounding Paris and major boulevards and arterials.
The move is partly driven by climate change policies and health concerns about air quality, but also to reduce injuries and deaths from crashes.
“The point is to reduce the space taken by cars, which involves lowering their speeds,” said Greens Deputy Mayor, David Belliard. He was referring to an often overlooked fact that cars travelling at lower speeds can safely travel with less space between them and the cars in front and behind.
Paris has already been moving on a number of fronts to reduce car use across the capital and create more space for public purposes.
Many streets have been closed for use by pedestrians and others have had traffic lanes removed and replaced by bike lanes.
About 60,000 of the city’s on-street car parks are being removed, leaving 80,000 remaining. Surveys showed that most of the parked cars were hardly driven, and mostly at weekends.
Motorcycles and scooters, which have been allowed to park free, will also have to start paying next year when hourly parking rates for cars will also rise.
Also next year, most vehicles will be banned outright from the Paris Centre district – the inner four districts of the capital including the two islands on the Seine River and the narrow streets of the Marais.
Mayor Anne Hidalgo’s has been harshly criticised for the move by automotive interest groups but has been strongly supported at the ballot box. She has also been making media comments suggesting that she may run for President in the French national elections due in 2022.
Parts of this article were previously published by Bicycle Network and AFP