Mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to make Paris the world’s most bikeable city but we are a far cry from Amsterdam or Copenhagen. During France’s 46-day transit strike last year, however, many metro-goers switched to cycling, doubling the number of cyclists on the roads. Le vélo became known as la petite reine (the little Queen).
Then, Paris rolled out emergency bike lanes for the use of key workers during the lockdown. A total of 650 km of cycleway - including a number of "pop-up corona cycleways”- were readied when déconfinement began two weeks ago.
Bicycles were very popular in the French capital up until the 1940s. They were then gradually squeezed out by war and the boom in the auto industry. Bikes are now back in business with a 131% year-on-year rise in the number of cyclists. Car use in Paris is falling for the first time since the 1940s!
If Paris' mayor has her way, we will become the "Ville Du Quart D’Heure" (City of fifteen minutes) an ambitious plan promising that every street will have a cycle path, every bridge will have protected cycleways, and every resident can walk or cycle to get anything they need. Stay tuned...