When Elisabeth Borne launched the 2nd cycling plan in France, Montpellier had just broken a record. That of the number of passages in 24 hours in front of the bike terminal on Place Albert 1er. 3,000 altogether. It was Tuesday, September 20, 2022.
The start of the school year is intended to be cycling in Montpellier. Since the beginning of September, there has been an influx of traffic on the cycle paths. There are more and more bikes, especially in the morning at 8:30 a.m., then between 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.
Montpellier has 160km of cycle paths plus those of neighboring towns.
8:30 a.m. in Montpellier, the bikes are in a hurry
Ecological and practical, the use of two wheels is attracting more and more people, especially under the sun. This Tuesday, an attendance record was even broken with 3,000 cyclists registered by the terminal located in the Ecusson.
“The slopes are not at the top” explains a cyclist. “Here, we are a little scared, especially at crossroads and intersections” said a man on a bicycle. And another confesses “the danger comes from us when we don’t respect the lights and stop signs”.
But there are still many things to improve. In particular for the safety of cyclists and the fluidity of traffic. The city has been designed for cars since 1950, not easy to adapt to bicycles.
We need a real cycling network, continuous, legible, identified and attractive, as was done for the tramway.Nicolas Le Moigne, president of Velocities.
Faced with overcrowding, the infrastructures are now outdated. The whole cycle system would need to be reviewed by the president of the Vélocités association. Mainly, intersections and roundabouts, the two enemies of cyclists with cars.
Another problem is the security of the bike itself, with theft and parking possibilities.
From October, we are going to put into service individual secure bicycle boxes in the city and also a public parking system to be able to park bicycles, all this in addition to the racks which are multiplying, often near tram stations.
Julie Frêche, vice-president of the Métropole de Montpellier in charge of transport and mobility.
On September 20, the government announced 250 million euros in 2023 to develop cycle paths and secure parking lots.
Investments to encourage the practice of cycling in France intended to help the projects of metropolises but also of medium-sized municipalities and rural areas.
- 200 million for infrastructure development.
- 50 million for parking sites.
An interministerial committee will meet every six months to review progress, “to develop the nation of cycling that we want to make France” declared the Prime Minister on the occasion of the announcement of this 2nd bicycle plan.
Finally, there will be aid for the French cycling sector “from assembly to recycling” and its development. The State wants production in France to increase from 800,000 bicycles per year to 1 million by 2027.
The use of bicycles in France increased by 11% over the first 9 months of 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 and by 33% compared to 2019, according to the network of local authorities Vélo & Territoires, which aggregates data from about 300 meters in the country.
The counters with the most passages are in Paris, Strasbourg, Grenoble and Nantes.
With the start of the school year, the counter on Boulevard de Sébastopol, the busiest in Paris, broke its record on Friday September 16 with 19,000 passages (in both directions), according to the town hall website.
In Montpellier, the counter record in Place Albert 1er was beaten on Tuesday September 20, 2022, with 3,000 passages in 24 hours. More than 437,500 since January 1, 222.
This Wednesday, September 21 at 10 a.m., 700 bikes were already counted.
In rural and peri-urban areas, however, cycling is still “fragile”, specifies Vélo & Territoires.
To exceed the European average of 7%, the French government hoped in 2018 to increase the share of trips made by bicycle to 9% by 2024 and to 12% by 2030, as in Germany. It was 3% in 2018.
The development of the daily use of bicycles notably involves the installation of reassuring infrastructures for cyclists, such as cycle paths separated from traffic.
Since the presentation of the government’s first bicycle plan in 2018, the number of kilometers of cycle paths has increased by 26%, according to the Infrastructure Orientation Council.
Nearly 2.8 million bicycles were sold in 2021 in France, i.e. +4% over one year, despite shortages of parts made in Asia which have slowed down global production. But only 25% is produced on site.
Cyclists are massively turning to electric bikes, which represent almost a quarter of sales, with a price of 2,000 euros on average, when that of classic bikes is 430 euros (+ 7% over one year).