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Number of cyclists in Paris soars as car journeys decrease

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Number of cyclists in Paris soars as car journeys decrease
Mayor Anne Hidalgo has put a heavy political weight behind the vélib as part of her plan to make Paris a bike-friendly city. Photo: AFP
11:09 CET+01:00
Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo’s pledge to make the French capital a bike-friendly city seems to be working. Cyclists now outnumber scooter and motorcycle riders combined.

It was one of Anne Hidalgo’s big political pledges. “Starting September, all Parisians will be biking!”

And as her mandate approaches its end, it seems as if the Socialist mayor's 2015 “Bike Plan” is starting to bear fruits.

Since September 2018, the number of cyclists in Paris has increased by 54 percent, according to numbers Le Parisien obtained from the mayor’s office. In 2018, road detectors registered an average of 1,030 cyclists daily. This year, the number was 1,630.

READ ALSO: Metro strike shows Paris could become a cycling city (once the roadworks end)

While Hidalgo's pledge to convert ‘all’ Parisians to cyclists is far from being achieved, the increase is part of a broader trend.

Looking at all of the Île-de-France region (Paris and its suburbs), the number of people who said they used their bikes daily increased by 30 percent between 2010 and 2018, according to a study conducted by Ile-de-France-Mobilités. The number car rides decreased by 5 percent during the same period.

Every day, Ile-de-France inhabitants make an average 840,000 journeys by bike.
 
This means more people are biking than driving a motorcycle or scooter (420,000 rides daily). Cyclists even outnumber the passengers on the most crowded Metro line - Line 1 - which transports 750,000 commuters every day.
 
World's eight bike-friendliest city
 
The fact that her bike plan is working could positively impact her chances of re-election in March.
 
Hidalgo's ultimate goal is to make Paris the world's number one bike capital. According to Wired's Copenhagenize Index, a comprehensive ranking of the world's most bicycle-friendly cities, Paris ranks 8 out of 115, surpassed only by renowned bicycle capitals like Copenhagen, Amsterdam and Oslo.
 
This represents huge jump from the 2015 index, when Hidalgo launched her bike plan. Back then, Paris ranked 17 (up from 20 in 2013). Wired  justifies the bump-up with that "local politicians have stood firm" facing "fierce opposition" to their cycling infrastructure plans.
 
Hidalgo has been heavily criticised by opponents for spending millions tearing up the city's roads and installing "express" cycle lanes. The most common criticism is that the scale of the road works has left the capital's streets clogged up with traffic and debris, as well as unsightly green and grey barriers.
 
 
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