Cycling is also gaining popularity in other French cities. The national government and local authorities encourage people to avoid crowded subways, buses and trams without using cars.
Paris authorities have created 30,000 additional bike paths in the past month and nearly 80 kilometers of new bike paths will be made available in Lyon this summer.
In the two weeks that have passed since France began easing the restrictions, bicycle use has jumped 53% from its level before the lock, according to the mayor of Paris. “There is undeniably a post-locking bicycle effect,” said Christophe Najdovski, deputy mayor in charge of transport. “If you create quality bike paths, more cyclists appear. “
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor, has reduced the consumption of private cars in recent years, trampling the banks of the Seine and restricting traffic in the highly polluted French capital.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic, it had promised to create 870 miles of cycle paths by the end of this year. Many Parisians delighted by the clean air and the reduced noise during the lockout are now supporting Hidalgo’s efforts to prevent the city from going back to its car-laden past, despite objections from motorist groups.
One of the busiest roads in Paris, rue de Rivoli, which passes the Louvre, has been closed to passenger cars. It now has four cycle paths and one for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles.
France injects 17 million pounds sterling in the promotion of the bicycle. Bicycle owners are eligible for free repairs up to € 50 by licensed mechanics, and Paris authorities will pay up to € 500 (£ 452) for the cost of an electric bike.
“Some economists predict that bicycle use will overtake cars by 2030, but with the current momentum that could occur by 2025,” said Najdovski.