The Paris region wants to boost the number of people who cycle to work by investing in new cycle lanes and infrastructure and a subsidised electric bike rental scheme. Valerie Pecresse, conservative head of the Ile-de-France region around the French capital, said it would invest 100 million euros ($113 million) to get to 2 million commuter journeys per day by 2021.
"Less than 2 per cent of Ile-de-France residents cycle to work, compared to 10 per cent in Germany and 20 per cent in the Netherlands," she told reporters on Wednesday. "We are way behind and we want to reach 6 per cent by 2021," she said, noting that half of the commutes done by car were less than 3 km (2 miles) long.
Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to ban fossil-fuel cars in Paris itself by 2030, but Pecresse is putting the emphasis on encouraging drivers to switch to cycling and public transport as part of a model that combines all three modes of transport. He region wants to make train stations, schools and office zones easily reachable by bike through a network of bike lanes.
To make it easier for the 12 million Ile-de-France residents to stop driving into Paris, the region will subsidise more than 10,000 secure bike parking spots in more than 150 railway stations. And commuters who live in hilly areas or who want to commute 10 km or more will be offered the chance to rent an electric bike for up to six months at 40 euros ($45) per month, of which half can be reimbursed by employers.
(With inputs from agencies.)