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TRAVELLING TO FRANCE

The new ‘RER line for cyclists’ that will link Paris to its suburbs

Paris transport chiefs have shared plans to create a suburban cycle network that will make it easier for commuters to cycle into the city.

The new 'RER line for cyclists' that will link Paris to its suburbs
Photo: AFP
The RER V cycle network, named after the RER train networks that links Paris and the suburbs, aims to expand the cycle paths so that cycling to work is a viable option for people who live outside the Paris ring road.
 
The plans were shared by te Vélo Île-de-France collective – which formed in March this year to promote and develop the practice of cycling in the greater Paris Île-de-France region and has united nearly 4,000 members from twenty associations.
 
Although there has been a lot of work on cycle lanes inside Paris city centre, too often the routes stop at the ring road.

The collective envisions “large, comfortable lanes” so that cyclists can “ride without question, without danger, over long distances”, explains Charles Maguin, President of Paris in the Saddle, an association that encourages cycling now part of the Vélo Île-de-France collective. 

 

“The problem with cycle lanes is that they often stop at the administrative limits,” he adds.

“The aim of this collective is to go beyond the logic of the communes.”

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe pointed out the “discontinuity on the bike lane maps” in a speech last year in Nantes, and spoke about how this “creates insecurity and discourages people from cycling.” In France, bike lane construction is not a national but a local responsibility, which often leads to inconsistencies. 

“For the moment, there is no real map established”, Vincent Degove, project manager, told Le Parisien. “The one we shared was mainly there to present the project and to encourage members to make proposals in their zone.” 

 

 

There has been a 12.5 percent ​increase in bike accidents over the last twelve months in Paris, including a record 147 cyclists wounded in just three months, and so the new cycle network also aims to improve bike safety.

Asked on Twitter by the collective, Valérie Pécresse, President of the Regional Council of Île-de-France, said she was “interested in the proposal of RER V” but has yet to confirm this officially. 

 

 

The project would support the French government’s plans to triple the number of cycling commuters in France in the next six years, up to 9 percent by 2024, as currently, only 3 percent of workers in France commute by bike, whilst 70 percent take the car.

The government plans to invest €350 million in cycling infrastructure over the next seven years. This includes ensuring more two-way bike traffic on one-way streets, and introducing cycling lessons in all secondary schools by 2022.

There will also be financial incentives in a bid to encourage bike commuting, with civil servants set to receive a 200 euro per year tax-free incentive for cycling to work.

The plans follow the increased restrictions on cars in the French capital, where diesel cars made earlier than 2006 have now been banned from the French capital on weekdays.

 

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TRAVEL NEWS

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

The UK is set to scrap all Covid-19 travel restrictions in what the government described as a "landmark moment".

Travel in Europe: UK to scrap all Covid travel rules

Testing is no longer required for vaccinated travellers, but the UK government has announced that it will scrap all Covid-19 travel rules on Friday, March 18th.

“As one of the first major economies to remove all its remaining Covid-19 travel restrictions, this is a landmark moment for passengers and the travel and aviation sector,” said the Government in a press release. 

From 4am on March 18th:

  • Passengers going to the UK will no longer be required to fill out a Passenger Locator Form before travel;
  • Passengers who are not vaccinated will not be required to take a pre-departure Covid test, or a Day 2 test following arrival. Fully vaccinated travellers are already exempt from having to do this;
  • Hotel quarantine for travellers coming from ‘red list’ countries, of which there are currently none, will also be scrapped by the end of the month. 

“We will continue monitoring and tracking potential new variants, and keep a reserve of measures which can be rapidly deployed if needed to keep us safe,” said UK Health Minister Sajid Javid. 

The UK has lifted all Covid-related rules including mask rules and mandatory self-isolation if you test positive for Covid.

Some European countries still have Covid restrictions in place for unvaccinated people coming from the UK. 

Until March 18th

Until the new rules come into effect, all travellers are required to fill out a passenger locator form. 

Unvaccinated travellers are also required to take pre-departure test and a test on or before Day 2 following their arrival. 

The UK border officers will recognise proof of vaccination provided with an EU Covid Certificate.

For the UK “fully vaccinated” means 14 days after your final dose of a EMA/FDA or Swiss approved vaccine (Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson). 

After a period of confusion, the UK government says that it will accept mixed doses administered in the EU (eg one dose of AstraZeneca and one of Pfizer).

However people who have only had a single dose after previously recovering from Covid – which is standard practice in some European countries – are not accepted as vaccinated by the UK.

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