Will Paris ever be a city for cyclists?

As all of inner Paris knows, the city of Paris work hard to make Paris more bike friendly and have set up a lot of different bike lines since the Corona pandemic started.

From the beginning it was a way to put less pressure on the Metro system, to not spread the virus, but it is said to be more or less permanent now when more and more people use bikes to get to work. But does it mean that Paris is ready for this?

Note that a few of my points now is my 100% own reflections and opinions. None might fit yours, or some or all.

First thing first, electric bikes and scooters is motor vehicles, NOT a bike. So no electric bikes or scooters on the bike lanes. Especially scooters cause you can’t hear them when they are behind you, and if you need to make a hard break or do a fast turn over cause of glass on the street or something you crash, for sure, not knowing you have a scooter behind you.

None of the above vehicles is eco friendly either which is the reason for them even being there. And why include electric bikes in this? Cause they are mopeds with drivers thinking they are on a normal bicycle. Complete killing machines.

The city must educate people that the bike lanes do not double as a secondary parking slot, especially in rush hour. The need to turn out in the traffic in rush hour cause someone parked in the bike lane to: “Just buy a baugette”, “Wait for my kid coming out from the school”, “Just needed to take a call” etc etc is as dangerous for the person on the bike as there was no bike lane.

In Sweden, and when a pedestrian or driving a car, the 10 meter law might seem redundant… But here in Paris I suddenly understand why. So what is the 10 meter law, you can’t park 10 meters before a zebra crossing. Here in Paris cars even park ON the zebra crossing for pedestrians, so coming on a bike you have not a chance to see if someone is stepping out to cross the street. Especially if it is a crossing without traffic lights.

Would Paris car drivers follow such a rule? Most likely not, that’s why it might be a good idea to put bike parking there, no car can then park there.

And talking traffic lights. The city have done a great job setting up traffic lights also for cyclists, but one big mistake… They switch from red to green at the same time as for the cars… Please, put the cyclist “green” 5 seconds before the cars… Cause going from a stand still on a bike to moving forward is a bit wobbly, and in rush hour it’s not a great idea to go a round of “whos toughest, car or bicycle”.

Narrow streets, with new bike lines… How did the city think there? To paint bike lanes in narrow streets it’s not possible to have:

  1. Car parking on both sides of the street. You bound to either crash with oncoming traffic, or scratch the parked vehicles.
  2. Restaurant terraces build on former parking spaces. I know the reason, I know it’s great when you sit there, but for traffic reasons not a fan.

And of course the city need more safe parking spaces for bikes, as a cyclist I can even subscribe, with a monthly fee, for some kind of safe parking for bikes – or at least put more parking spaces up (like the suggestion above, in the 10 meter area before a zebra crossing).

Also, the bike lanes painted in the middle of broad roads, is not there for car parking or passing the queue of vehicles waiting for a green light.

And… Don’t cyclists do anything wrong? Is it all just asking for more perks for the cyclists? Oh believe me, just as new more bikes on the Paris streets is to drivers of cars and motorcyclists, moped drivers and those annoying electric scooters – new cyclists also need to shape up and follow some rules.

My first is to make it as forbidden as when driving a car to text on your mobile. And let the police stop people doing that. Note that this dangerous activity is mainly done by cyclists on electric bikes since they can keep balance going forward by electric power. It’s tougher for someone on a normal bike.

Use the “pling” when passing another cyclist on the bike lane so he or she knows you’re going to pass.

Stop when it’s a red traffic light. You do not save a lot of time to just follow the rules.

Over all, I feel more or less safe in the Paris traffic, even if you really need to keep more of an eye on the traffic around you here than in Stockholm (which by the way not a paradise for cyclists). And if an accident ever will happen I am sure it will be more cause by a pedestrian or another cyclist than with a car. Cause they do strange things in traffic for sure.

Thank you for letting me take up some of your time.

Björn

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