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Paris goes all-in on bikes

The city of love, the city of light, the city of bikes? Paris recently announced a 250 million euro infrastructure plan that aims to make Paris "a 100% cycling city" by 2026. 

Under the Bike Plan, central to the campaign of mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo, an additional 180 kilometres of bike paths will be added to Paris' existing 1,000+ kilometres, as well as tens of thousands of new bike parking facilities and a self-repair shop in each of the city's 20 arrondissements. 

Last year in Paris there were 6,631 bike theft complaints, and 81% of people who do not want to ride a bicycle cite fear of theft as the predominant reason. As such, the plan states "the availability of parking, in particular secure parking, is therefore one of the determining factors for using a bicycle as a means of transport."

And the plan also has one eye on education advocating for all primary school aged children to be taught how to ride a bike at school, as well as developing bike education schools for adults interested in learning. 

Mayor Hidalgo's spokesperson David Belliard tweeted (in French): “This bike plan is one of the essential pillars of the ecological and social transformation that we are leading in Paris.”

Hidalgo, who also orchestrated Paris' first "day without cars" in 2015 (now an annual tradition), is also the Socialist Party's presidential candidate. 

Though it may seem like bike-heaven from the outside, there have been some recent reports about the city's bike infrastructure still falls short and cycling in Paris still feeling like somewhat of a wild frontier. 

The New York Times recently reported the streets of Paris are in "anarchy", with bikes, cars, pedestrians and an increasing number of scooters all clashing for the limited space on the busy, narrow streets.

Though much of the current bike infrastructure does not adequately separate bikes from the famously chaotic foot and car traffic in Paris, the new plan does nonetheless acknowledge that separation between riders, pedestrians and motor vehicles is needed to foster a more orderly cycling culture.

You can read more about the latest infrastructure announcement on the city's website.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.