On Wednesday, March 5th, the Minister of Transport revealed the Action Plan for Active Mobility (PAMA): 19 measures outlining a bike plan at the national level and establishing bicycles as "a major stake of public policy."
The question of the growth of bikes is even more important, especially since we have been going through a pollution peak for many days. It's time to reverse the situation and make the bicycle a true weapon in the fight against pollution.
At the regulatory level, numerous measures, that we have been awaiting for years, were presented. Among the most significant, there are opportunities for collectives to have more freedom in setting speed limits at thirty kilometres/hour in populated zones. More than with just a regulatory evolution, above all, we are dealing with a paradigm shift, validating the idea of shared public space, where fifty kilometres per hour is no longer the rule in an urban setting. The double meaning of bikeable will become widespread through all the routes limited to thirty kilometres per hour (and more so in zones 30 [delimited urban zones where you can only drive at low speeds in France]), and yielding to bikers will extend to other modes of transport on wheels.
PAMA also presents a measure for creating secure parking - or bike stations - in every major train station. The government's framework of this provision and the implementation of a methodology will allow for, I hope, attaining our objectives. Now that a lack of secure parking has been clearly identified as an impediment to biking. SNCF, a French rail network, needs to keep this in mind, including in Paris, while it renovates spaces in train stations and church squares.
Parking on sidewalks, crosswalks or bike lanes will be reclassified as "too obstructive," causing the penalty to rise from 35 to 135 euros. These changes in road regulations will respect spaces reserved for pedestrians or bikers. Other regulatory measures will allow for more secure, planned travel routes of bikers. All of these road regulation changes will go into effect by Fall of 2014.
Lastly, mileage compensation constitutes another much-awaited measure, whose effects could be very important to increasing the prevalence of biking. In the same capacity as drivers, bikers could receive financial compensation for choosing biking as a means of travel between home and work. This will surely have the effect of encouraging other professionals to jump on bikes. The effects in terms of public health, and therefore financial gains for our health system, are certain and can be added to the benefit of better air quality.
Since 2001, we've been supporting the growth of biking in Paris, whether through building a network of bikeable routes, of more than 730 kilometres; Velib, in place since 2007; the creation of zones 30 and urban mixed-use zones; the promulgation of the double meaning of bikeable for the practice of yielding; creation of 23,000 bicycle parking spaces, and more. I rejoice at the implementation of a Bike Plan at the national level: proof that bikes have acquired a whole new legitimacy next to other transportation modes like buses, the subway, or cars.
Today, in Paris, there are three times as many bike trips as in 2001. Forty percent of these trips happen through Velib, a service that has allowed many novices to get on a bike and do so regularly. Recreational biking has yielded to the urgency for daily biking, a travel mode in its own right and of our times, one of the non-polluting modes that is part of the preservation of a calm and shared city. And the way this plan encourages taking up biking sets us in a good direction.
What are the ideal preconditions for a road to be bikeable?
Original article, originally published in French, can be found here.
Credits: Images and data linked to sources.