Announcement of a new road safety campaign for cyclists in France

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The campaign, called Live together (Live Together), was launched today (Friday, September 25) by the government road safety body Safety Road. It aims to improve bicycle safety practices among drivers and cyclists.The national cycling organization Vélo et Territoires noted that from May 11 (start of deconfinement in France) to September 13, there was a 30% increase in bicycle use compared to the previous year. However, the figures show that accidents and fatalities from cycling are also on the rise.

Camille Thomé, Director of Vélo et Territoires said: “Many new cyclists feel safe on the planned cycle routes, but have not absorbed the rules of the road and do not necessarily have a driving license.

The campaign advises cyclists:

  • Check that their brakes, lights and bell are in good working order
  • Plan a route in advance that uses cycle paths
  • Wear a helmet, light-colored clothing and a high-visibility jacket
  • Avoid using headphones when cycling
  • Refrain from cycling after drinking more than the legal alcohol limit
  • Indicate with an arm before changing direction
  • Cycle in a single file, rather than side by side
  • Avoid stopping in blind spots
  • Stay as far as possible on bends

Recommended safety rules for cyclists in France (Image: Vivre Emsemble / Road safety)

The slogan of the new campaign is: Watch out for bikes, watch out for bikes (watch your bike, look for bikes). As part of this campaign, large messages reminding road users of the safety rules for cycling will be broadcast in buses and bus shelters throughout France.

Bicycle use and bicycle accidents on the rise

During the past 12 months, transport strikes and the health crisis have led to a sharp increase in cycling in France.

Figures from Vélo et Territoires – which collected the data using metering terminals installed throughout France – show that from May 11 (start of deconfinement) to September 13, there was a 30% increase in bicycle use compared to the same period in 2019, and a 20% increase in bicycle use from 2013 to 2018.

These figures represent all regions of France. Bicycle use is up 34% in urban areas, 20% in suburbs and 19% in rural areas. There is a particular increase in large cities – especially in Paris, where use is up 72%.

As the number of cyclists has increased, cycling-related accidents have also increased.

Since the start of 2020, 123 cyclists have been killed in France, including 29 dead in July. Road Safety figures show that it is 29 fewer deaths overall than over the same period in 2019. However, for two months of 2020, the French were confined to their homes.

In July and August of this year, more than 1,566 cycling injuries were recorded in France, about 15% more than the same period last year.

In a broader context, since 2010, the death rates of cyclists have increased by 27%, while those of road users have fallen by 19% overall.

Marie Gautier-Melleray, interministerial delegate for road safety concluded: “The figures for 2020, since leaving the enclosure, are a little worrying.

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