Number of cyclists in Paris soars as car journeys decrease

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.

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

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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Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed

Striking airport workers have blocked part Paris’s Charles de Gaulle airport, with some flights already delayed by at least one hour.

Striking workers block Paris airport terminal, flights delayed
Striking airport workers outside Charles-de-Gaulle airport in Paris. Photo: Geoffroy van der Hasselt | AFP

Last month, trade unions representing workers at the Aéroports de Paris (ADP) – the city’s Charles-de-Gaulle-Roissy and Orly airports – called for a strike between July 1st and July 5th in an ongoing dispute between French airport workers and bosses over contract renegotiations.

A second wave of protests are expected next week, after a strike notice was filed for July 9th.

Tensions mounted on Friday morning as some 400 protesters staged a raucous demonstration at CDG’s terminal 2E, which mostly deals with flights outside the Schengen zone, as police officers looked on.

At Orly airport, meanwhile, some 250 people demonstrated “outside”, while a small group was inside.

The dispute is over a long-term plan by ADP to bring in new work contracts for employees at the airports, which unions say will lower pay, job losses and a reduction in rights and bonuses for employees.

The strike is being jointly called by the CGT, CFE-CGE, Unsa, CFDT and FO unions, who said in a joint press release that the proposals will “definitively remove more than a month’s salary from all employees and force them to accept geographical mobility that will generate additional commuting time”.

Unions say that staff face dismissal if they do not sign the new contracts.

ADP said on Wednesday that it expected ‘slight delays for some flights but no cancellations’ to services – but it urged travellers to follow its social media operations for real-time updates.

On Thursday, the first day of action, 30 percent of flights were delayed between 15 minutes and half-an-hour.

ADP’s CEO Augustin de Romanet had said on Tuesday that ‘everything would be done to ensure no flight is cancelled’. 

ADP reported a loss of €1.17 billion in 2020. 

Stressing that discussions are continuing over the proposed new contracts, the CEO called for “an effort of solidarity, with a red line: no forced layoffs.”