In Paris, use of cycle paths has doubled in one year

It is a phenomenon visible to the naked eye: there are more and more cyclists in the Parisian streets and the facilities are increasingly cramped. Failing to have become the world cycling capital » promised by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, use of cycle paths there has soared, doubling between 2022 and 2023 during peak hours. A trend, initiated in 2019 during public transport strikes then in 2020 during deconfinement, which cannot be denied. For the month of October 2023, there were twice as many bicycles ping through the sensors installed by the city as in October 2022.

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This doubling, even tripling of attendance in certain places, does not surprise the deputy mayor in charge of mobility and public space, David Belliard (Europe Ecologie-Les Verts, EELV): “We already knew that the use of bicycles had gone far beyond simple fashion. (…) While the weather has deteriorated in Paris in recent weeks, we have again recorded attendance records. »

“In mobility more than elsewhere, the central question is supply rather than demand”estimates the elected official, who ures that the municipality has “mively amplified the supply of infrastructure” since his re-election in 2020, building protected bike lanes and installing parking spaces. This is the principle induced traffic : when an infrastructure is created or improved, it generates an additional volume of traffic, regardless of the mode of transport concerned (road, rail, bicycle, walking, etc.).

The sharp increase in use of cycle facilities is confirmed

This graph represents, over a typical week, the evolution of the average number of bicycle pages at the different counting points in Paris in 2022 and 2023.

The lowest level of attendance on Mondays in May 2023 is due to the fact that three of these five Mondays were public holidays.

⚠️ There is 128 counting points distributed throughout Paris, the data of which allowed us to set up a typical week, month by month, by taking an average per hour and per counting point. In order to facilitate comparison between them, we have converted the results of our calculations to base 100 (100 being Monday at 9 a.m.).

However, between the delay on the “bike plan” and that taken on the perpetuation of the coronapists, according to the Cycling Plan Observatory set up by the Paris en saddle ociation, the Socialist Party-Communist Party-EELV municipal team has only completed 21% of the project, while half of its second term has ped. A delay that Mr. Belliard recognizes and partly attributes to the complexity of the upstream procedures, “because we do not have control over all public space, there are still some difficulties with the police headquarters”.

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More bikes than cars during rush hours

Other teaching of road counting statistics; during rush hours, bicycles outnumber cars on certain representative roads in the capital. On Avenue de Flandre, Boulevard Voltaire and Boulevard Magenta, the average never exceeds 384 motorized vehicles per hour on the central part of the road, compared to 537 bicycles on the cycle paths in September and October.

The roads are saturated during rush hours while relative fluidity remains on the cycle lanes, in particular due to the low ground occupancy of bicycles. A bicycle requires approximately 1.5 square meters of floor space to transport a person, five times less than a car (7.5 square meters for the best-selling SUV, the Peugeot 2008) – in Paris and Ile-de-France. France, there are 1.1 people on average per vehicle.

More bicycles than motorized vehicles during peak hours

This graph shows motor vehicle traffic counts and bicycles per hour on average. And this on three of the main Parisian boulevards whose arrangements make the two traffics comparable, in September and October 2023.

In order to be able to compare car and cycle traffic, among the traffic lanes equipped with sensors, we selected three because they all had a two-way lane for motorized traffic and another also a two-way lane for cycle traffic. These are Avenue de Flandre, Boulevard Voltaire and Boulevard Magenta, all located in the east of the city, with no axis in the west meeting the criteria for making a comparison.
We then calculated the average of pages per hour and per counting point in order to smooth the observations.

The latest figures available, dating from the year 2021, indicated that the bicycle represented 5.6% of trips in Paris, compared to 9% for the car. The “rebalancing” policy carried out by left-wing municipal majorities from Bertrand Delanoë has reduced intramural automobile traffic by approximately 45% since 2001.

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