Authorities in France will invest 2 billion euros over the next four years to develop the infrastructure for cycling, as well as encourage citizens to increase bicycle use. These measures, announced as part of the 2023-2027 cycling and mobility plan, were unveiled by the Ministers of Ecological Transition, Christophe Béchu, and Transport, Clément Beaune on Thursday May 4th, and then by the Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne on Friday, May 5th.
In total, more than 6 billion euros will be invested between now and 2027 if the budget from local authorities is taken into account, according to French newspaper Le Monde. The government is planning a series of measures to incentivize bicycle use. The first step will be to increase the number of cycling paths and dedicated lanes.
France’s cycling and mobility plan builds on the the European Parliament’s Resolution on developing an EU Cycling Strategy adopted by the Transport and Tourism Committee (TRAN) on 16 February 2023. The resolution tasks the European Commission with doubling the number of kilometers cycled in Europe by 2030 and marks a recognition of cycling as a fully-fledged mode of transport and key industrial asset to meet long-term climate and clean manufacturing objectives.
The motion, adopted almost unanimously in Strasbourg, sets out a 17-point action plan to develop more cycling infrastructure, lay fertile ground in Europe for bike, component and battery production and grow two million jobs in a “cycling ecosystem” covering manufacturing, tourism, retail, health and sports that already employs one million people in Europe today.
Very happy to have inspired the French government’s bicycle plan.Karima Delli, French Member of the European Parliament
1. Traffic law changes to be tested
Changes to the traffic laws will be tested to improve bicycle traffic. “It is proposed to install footrests at the edge of the road to allow cyclists to stop at the light without having to get out of the saddle,” reads the press release from the Ministries of Ecological Transition and Transport.
A delay in the passage of cyclists through the green light will also be tested in some places to “allow cyclists to release the lock and regain sufficient speed before the departure of other vehicles”.
2. More bicycle lanes
In 2023, the state has already planned to invest 250 million euros in infrastructure, such as bike lanes. The effort will continue until 2027, with the extension of aid. In total, 1.25 billion euros, or 250 million euros per year, will be made available to accelerate the development of bike paths throughout France.
The government also wants to encourage the development of cycle routes, which are popular with cycle tourists. Currently, there are some 57,000 km of safe bicycle paths in France. The goal is to reach 80,000 km by 2027 and 100,000 km by 2030.
3. Boosting bicycle production
The State wants to support the production of bicycles in France. Its objective is to exceed 1.4 million bicycles produced in 2027, against 854,000 in 2022.
4. Fighting bicycle theft
To limit theft, which is a barrier to cycling, the plan is to make the registration of bicycles in the national bicycle identification file more widespread. The number of secure parking spaces near train stations should also be increased to 90,000 by 2027, compared to 30,000 today. “The state aims to have 100% of its sites equipped with secure bicycle parking by 2027,” the document reads.
5. Subsidies for the purchase of used bikes
State aid for the purchase of a bike will be extended until the end of the bike plan in 2027. These measures will also be open to the purchase of second-hand bikes resold by professionals.
6. Sustainable mobility package increased
Cycling to work will also be incentivized by increasing the sustainable mobility package for the civil service from 200 to 300 euros.