Cycling campaigners are hoping that new investment in cycle lanes will help France catch up with its neighbours.
The government unveiled its plan vélo in May, pledging €2billion between now and 2027 to improve infrastructure and help people looking to invest in a bike.
It aims to increase cycle lanes from 57,000km to 80,000km by 2027, and 100,000km by 2030, with €1.25billion set aside for infrastructure.
Thibault Quéré, advocacy manager at the Fédération française des usagers de la bicyclette (FUB), said: “That’s less than the required funding, which we estimated at €2.5billion back in 2020.”
He did, however, say it would “breathe new life into the cycling ecosystem.”
‘Use local knowledge’
The FUB is calling for 1% of the new budget to go towards involving citizens at a local level and allowing them to “bring forward all their knowledge of the area and their suggestions.”
Ecology Minister Christophe Béchu has said the programme “will not finance paint jobs, but real cycle lanes that are safe and separated from car traffic.”
More cycling lessons for children
France also hopes to step up cycling lessons, so that from 2027 all primary school children learn how to ride a bike.
“This objective was already set for 2024 before being pushed back,” said Mr Quéré, who warned improvements are needed.
“Local authorities are often unfamiliar with the programme, and there is a lack of trained instructors.”
The FUB is advocating for a “clear hierarchy of transportation methods”, and for funding for new roads to be redirected to cycling and public transport.