France urges people to resume cycling after lockout


The French government must pay 50 euros per person to pay for bicycle repairs after the national coronavirus lockdown ended on May 11.

The 20 million euro program aims to bring people back on their bikes after childbirth. It will also finance the installation of bicycle parking lots and finance cycling lessons.

Announcing the plan, Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne said the government would also speed up the introduction of a program that allows employers to cover up to 400 euros in travel expenses for staff commuting to work by bike.

“We want this period to mark a turning point in cycling culture and for the bicycle to be somehow the little queen of deconfinement,” she said in an interview with the Parisian.

The government has said that more people commuting to work by bicycle or for other reasons would help reduce overcrowding on public transport, where social distancing is more difficult.

Despite its cycling heritage, the practice of cycling for daily journeys in France lags behind other countries, even if 60% of “journeys made in France in normal times are less than 5 km”, according to the Ministry of Ecological Transition .

The French cycling federation FUB will coordinate the bicycle repair program, using a network of approved dealers.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo said on Twitter that the city will create new cycle paths along busy metro lines 1, 4 and 13. She also said that the main east-west artery, rue de Rivoli, would be reserved for cycling, with buses, taxis and emergency vehicles. only motorized vehicles are allowed.

Other cities are also considering creating new bike paths by removing the space for car lanes.
To support local authorities in this process, the government has offered technical support and a waiver of prior authorizations, “in particular from the Architects of French Buildings”.

The government also calls on them to maintain “accessible greenways when the conditions for opening up to cyclists are met”.


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