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Mon Dieu, France invests a cool $2 billion to promote cycling.

First, Paris pushed forward with an ambitious cycling plan, and now the entire country of France is getting into the two-wheeled act.

France has announced plans to invest €2 billion over the next four years to promote cycling as a mode of transport, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. This investment is part of a larger initiative called the ‘mobilitiés’ plan, of which the ‘plan vélo’ is a key component.

The plan vélo has three main goals: to make cycling and walking an attractive alternative to private cars, to support the French cycling industry, and to make cycling accessible to people of all ages.

To achieve these objectives, the government plans to develop new cycling infrastructure such as safe cycling lanes and cycling routes, and increase the total number of cycling paths in the country from 57,000 km to 80,000 km by 2027, and 100,000 km by 2030. Financial aid to purchase bicycles will also be extended until 2027, with subsidies ranging from €300 to €2,000 depending on the type of bike and household income. In addition, the government will trial new rules in the highway code to promote safer cycling and streamline bicycle traffic, such as allowing traffic lights to turn green for cyclists first.

The government also aims to teach 850,000 school children per year how to ride a bike, and to support the French cycling industry by helping to produce over 1.4 million bikes per year by 2027. The aim is also to encourage more cycling tourism, as the government sees the potential for growth in this sector.

“The state’s bicycle effort is unprecedented and massive,” wrote Transport Minister Clement Beaune on Twitter.

The French government’s investment in cycling is part of a wider effort to reduce reliance on private cars and encourage more sustainable modes of transport.

Advocacy group French Bicycle Users’ Group said the investment is a “welcome decision to make cycling a realistic choice for as many people as possible.”

To achieve the goal of supporting the bicycle manufacturing sector, the government plans to introduce measures that would make it easier for French manufacturers to produce bicycles locally, and to reduce their reliance on imported parts.

Additionally, the government is looking to promote biking tourism by developing new cycling routes and infrastructure to make France a more attractive destination for cyclists. The aim is to capitalize on the country’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage and to position France as a leading destination for biking tourism.

Overall, the government’s plan vélo represents a significant investment in cycling infrastructure and aims to make cycling a more accessible and attractive mode of transport for people of all ages and backgrounds. By doing so, France hopes to reduce its reliance on private cars and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also supporting local manufacturers and promoting the country’s tourism industry.

Will the move motivate other countries to follow suit? Maybe. In 2020, the League of American Bicyclists conducted a survey and found that 60 per cent of Americans surveyed think the federal government should invest more of its transportation dollars into programs that benefit people who bike and walk, and 78 per cent of people surveyed agreed that their community would be a better place to live if bicycling were safer and more comfortable.


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