French government plan to encourage more cycling and walking

Published by Lyn on 13 March 2014

New French government proposals aim to increase cycling and walking as forms of transportation, as well as boost cycle tourism across the country.

The French government wants to see more of this in cities and towns across the country. Photo: protorio

The French government wants to see more of this in cities and towns across the country. Photo: Esteban

The French government has released details of a new transport plan to get more people cycling.

French Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier hopes the PAMA, or Plan d’Actions pour les Mobilités Actives (Action Plan for Active Mobility) will get people either on to bikes or walking shorter distances more often.

The blueprint is based on the recommendations of a high-level steering committee that included leading public transport groups, cycling and walking campaigners, and public authorities.

The 25-point plan includes financial incentives for employers who successfully encourage staff to commute to work by bike, plus moves to boost cycle tourism across the country and create more bike-to-school programmes for kids.

According to the European Cyclist's Federation (ECF), bicycle tourism already generates an estimated €2 billion for the French economy, providing jobs for more than 16,000 people.

More than 12,000km of additional bike paths are either planned or currently under construction in France to help build on these numbers. (If you own an accommodation business aimed at tourists, we have this advice to help you make your gite, B&B, campsite or hotel cycle-friendly so that you can encourage more cyclists to stay with you).

The ECF's trademark cycling conference, Velo-city, will be held in Nantes in 2015 and further raise the profile of cycling in France. The ECF is, among other things, responsible for overseeing the rollout of the EuroVelo network of long-distance bike routes, seven of which pass through France.

While cycle tourism is booming, the figures are less impressive for everyday cycling. According to the ECF, while France is fourth in the world on a bikes per capita basis, only 1 in 20 French people use their bikes every day (although 10 million French people say they ride occasionally). Just 3% of all transportation (including short city-based deliveries) is done by bike.

The country that pioneered bike sharing and hosts the largest annual spectator event in the world, the Tour de France, is now taking steps to make everyday cycling as popular as it was before the car came along.

France’s bike sharing programs have been a continuous success. La Rochelle has one oldest bike sharing system in the world with its “Yellow Bikes” which were put in circulation in 1974. The largest network  is the “Vélib’” project in Paris. It is the 3rd largest bike sharing system in the World and was launched in 2007. It is a large network with over 18,000 bikes and close to 1,200 stations spread across Paris. The service is used by over 100,000 cyclists per day. Rennes had one of the earliest bike sharing system in France. It has now evolved to “Velo Star” which has 83 stations and over a thousand users. Each of these systems have a subscription system which remains affordable and convenient for the  users.  There are 35 bike sharing systems in France as of now, they range from a network of around a 100 bikes up to 18,000. - See more at: http://www.ecf.com/news/member-of-the-month-france/#sthash.nlC4ZWnB.dpuf
10 million French ride their rides occasionally
1 in 20 French uses his bike everyday 1 3% of all transportation in France is done by bike 1 4th country in the world for bikes per capita4 5 bikes are sold per 100 habitants every year 1 10 million French ride their rides occasionally - See more at: http://www.ecf.com/news/member-of-the-month-france/#sthash.nlC4ZWnB.dpuf
1 in 20 French uses his bike everyday 1 3% of all transportation in France is done by bike 1 4th country in the world for bikes per capita4 5 bikes are sold per 100 habitants every year 1 10 million French ride their rides occasionally - See more at: http://www.ecf.com/news/member-of-the-month-france/#sthash.nlC4ZWnB.dpuf

Paying cyclists to ride to work

Under the PAMA proposals, businesses will be able to pay employees who cycle 25 cents for every kilometre they cover en route to work. To achieve this, the government says it will work with train companies to improve cycling facilities for commuters as well as for tourists. For example, there will also be more focus on developing bike-rail networks (better bike parking at railways stations and more trains suitable for carrying bikes). Businesses will also be encouraged to improve cycle parking.

The PAMA plan also aims to make cycling in France safer, with key changes to road rules to encourage better and more efficient road-sharing. For example, it may be possible for cyclists to ride through some red lights at junctions where this has been deemed safe. Such rules have already been tested in cities including Paris, Bordeaux and Strasbourg, where they have been met with popular approval from cyclists and road safety advocates.

Other planned changes include permitting cars to overtake cyclists more easily by crossing white lines, and increasing fines for drivers who park on footpaths and in infrastructure designated for cycle use, such as on dedicated cycling and walking paths. It is possible that speed limits will also be lowered on some (mainly local) roads across the country.

You can read more about the report, including a current v future overview of the proposals here (in French).

The new governmental transport plan aims at promoting cycle. Photo credit: flickr philippe leroyer

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014 the French Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier has made an especially positive announcement concerning cycling, through the PAMA (Plan d’Actions pour les Mobilités Actives or Action Plan for Active Mobility). Among the 25 proposals were encouraging businesses to provide financial incentives for commuting by bike and governmental support to Velo-city 2015 in Nantes organized by ECF.

As ECF previously announced, the French government has officially proposed on the March 5, 2014 a new Mobility Plan dedicated to ‘active mobility’: cycling and walking. The announcement of the French Transport Minister is based on the work of a steering committee which included the three French ECF members (DRC, AF3V and FUB), as well as other associations and public authorities. Six main topics were selected: development of multimodal structures, safety, economy, urbanism, tourism and education. Overall, the aim is to promote cycling (and walking) as more environmental-friendly, healthier and cheaper ways of transport.

A bicycle kilometric allowance

PAMA flagship project aims to create incentives for cycling to work. In order to encourage commuting by bike, volunteer companies will reimburse 25 cents per kilometer to employees who come to the office by bike. In return these companies will benefit from more efficient and less stressed employees. After a test period, the Agency for environment and energy management (ADEME) will assess the impact of the allowance. Good results could lead to new concrete measures. To make cycling to work more motivating, intermodal solutions will be implemented as well: more trains will accept bicycles and bigger bike parking spaces will be created next to railway stations. Additionally, new bicycle parking facilities will open next to business buildings and some residential areas.

Safer cities for cyclists

Some proposals will have an impact on road-sharing. For instance, cyclists will be able to continue pedaling through an intersection at a red traffic light if the place has been adapted for such bicycle use. Concerning car drivers, they will now be allowed to cross white lines to overtake cyclists. Furthermore, cars will now have to pay 135€ (instead of 35€) if they park on cycle paths. The French Minister of Transport, Frédéric Cuvillier also wants to expand the geographical scope where the speed limit is below 50km/h. Cyclists will be allowed to ride in both directions on the streets where these lower speed limits occur. Ceri Woolsgrove, road safety Officer at ECF, says that“reducing speed of motorized vehicles is one of the major ways of lowering cycling casualties as well as making the roads seem safer which in turn increases cycling numbers. Allowing contraflow cycling is another excellent proposal to give advantages to cycling over other modes. These and the other proposals could make a difference to both bike promotion and bike safety.”  When it comes to cycling education, PAMA proposes the development of current bike-to-school programs in combination with the creation of Vélo-Ecoles in large cities. These associative Vélo-Ecoles are aimed at a large audience, including children as well as adults. The goal of these ‘bike-schools’ is to make people more confident and feel safer when they ride their bicycles on roads.

Development of bike-tourism

Tourism by bike has been acknowledged as one of the growing tourism trends. The development of this type of tourism could have, according to Mr. Cuvillier, a positive impact on the most popular tourist country in the world. The bike tourism-related economy is already estimated to equal €2 billion and employs more than 16,000 people. 12 000 km of cycle paths will soon be built to double these figures. The ECF EuroVelo network contributes to the success of French bike-toursim since seven routes are crossing the country (EuroVelo 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 15).

Governmental support for 2015 Nantes Velo-city

The French government has also announced their support for Velo-city 2015 Nantes, the world’s biggest cycling conference organized annually by ECF. In this context, the government wants to boost the media coverage of the event in order to showcase the bike and the French bicycle economy.

We welcome the progress included in the PAMA and share our French members’ interest (AF3V, DRC and FUB) in furthering the first 25 proposals. So, we look forward the regulatory and legislative work and the actual applications of those positive proposals that will make France an even more cyclist-friendly country!

- See more at: http://www.ecf.com/news/france-pama-a-step-in-the-right-direction/#sthash.aF2ua3yg.dpuf
The new governmental transport plan aims at promoting cycle. Photo credit: flickr philippe leroyer

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014 the French Transport Minister Frédéric Cuvillier has made an especially positive announcement concerning cycling, through the PAMA (Plan d’Actions pour les Mobilités Actives or Action Plan for Active Mobility). Among the 25 proposals were encouraging businesses to provide financial incentives for commuting by bike and governmental support to Velo-city 2015 in Nantes organized by ECF.

As ECF previously announced, the French government has officially proposed on the March 5, 2014 a new Mobility Plan dedicated to ‘active mobility’: cycling and walking. The announcement of the French Transport Minister is based on the work of a steering committee which included the three French ECF members (DRC, AF3V and FUB), as well as other associations and public authorities. Six main topics were selected: development of multimodal structures, safety, economy, urbanism, tourism and education. Overall, the aim is to promote cycling (and walking) as more environmental-friendly, healthier and cheaper ways of transport.

A bicycle kilometric allowance

PAMA flagship project aims to create incentives for cycling to work. In order to encourage commuting by bike, volunteer companies will reimburse 25 cents per kilometer to employees who come to the office by bike. In return these companies will benefit from more efficient and less stressed employees. After a test period, the Agency for environment and energy management (ADEME) will assess the impact of the allowance. Good results could lead to new concrete measures. To make cycling to work more motivating, intermodal solutions will be implemented as well: more trains will accept bicycles and bigger bike parking spaces will be created next to railway stations. Additionally, new bicycle parking facilities will open next to business buildings and some residential areas.

Safer cities for cyclists

Some proposals will have an impact on road-sharing. For instance, cyclists will be able to continue pedaling through an intersection at a red traffic light if the place has been adapted for such bicycle use. Concerning car drivers, they will now be allowed to cross white lines to overtake cyclists. Furthermore, cars will now have to pay 135€ (instead of 35€) if they park on cycle paths. The French Minister of Transport, Frédéric Cuvillier also wants to expand the geographical scope where the speed limit is below 50km/h. Cyclists will be allowed to ride in both directions on the streets where these lower speed limits occur. Ceri Woolsgrove, road safety Officer at ECF, says that“reducing speed of motorized vehicles is one of the major ways of lowering cycling casualties as well as making the roads seem safer which in turn increases cycling numbers. Allowing contraflow cycling is another excellent proposal to give advantages to cycling over other modes. These and the other proposals could make a difference to both bike promotion and bike safety.”  When it comes to cycling education, PAMA proposes the development of current bike-to-school programs in combination with the creation of Vélo-Ecoles in large cities. These associative Vélo-Ecoles are aimed at a large audience, including children as well as adults. The goal of these ‘bike-schools’ is to make people more confident and feel safer when they ride their bicycles on roads.

Development of bike-tourism

Tourism by bike has been acknowledged as one of the growing tourism trends. The development of this type of tourism could have, according to Mr. Cuvillier, a positive impact on the most popular tourist country in the world. The bike tourism-related economy is already estimated to equal €2 billion and employs more than 16,000 people. 12 000 km of cycle paths will soon be built to double these figures. The ECF EuroVelo network contributes to the success of French bike-toursim since seven routes are crossing the country (EuroVelo 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8 and 15).

Governmental support for 2015 Nantes Velo-city

The French government has also announced their support for Velo-city 2015 Nantes, the world’s biggest cycling conference organized annually by ECF. In this context, the government wants to boost the media coverage of the event in order to showcase the bike and the French bicycle economy.

We welcome the progress included in the PAMA and share our French members’ interest (AF3V, DRC and FUB) in furthering the first 25 proposals. So, we look forward the regulatory and legislative work and the actual applications of those positive proposals that will make France an even more cyclist-friendly country!

- See more at: http://www.ecf.com/news/france-pama-a-step-in-the-right-direction/#sthash.aF2ua3yg.dpuf

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