Cycling and Public Transport Together Against Cars in French Urban Cities
LAFERRERE G, CERTU, France
In France, like in other European countries, most of inhabitants ask for livable and safety towns. Pedestrians, cyclists and public transport drivers have a common target: enhancing these modes instead of car trips. Thus national and local authorities are
In France, like in other European countries, most of inhabitants ask for livable and safety towns. Pedestrians, cyclists and public transport drivers have a common target: enhancing these modes instead of car trips. Thus national and local authorities are looking how t O encourage a gradual reduction in the use of private cars : they improve local transport plans, extend the public transport network and begin to consider cycling as a serious means of urban transport!
Law on "protection of the air against pollution and for a rational use of energy" (30 December 1996)combines economic and ecological goals in urban areas. By introducing a changeover from car to bicycle and public transport, this law suggests several tools to resolve crucial problems like traffic jams or pollution.
One of these tools is an "Urban Transport Plan": every city more than 100 000 inhabitants has to plan actions to decrease car trips, increase public transport, promote cycling and walking. At the end of this year, the 50 biggest towns will have approved their urban transport plan.
Of course, some towns did not wait for a national policy to put forward walking, cycling and public transport. The << Club des Villes Cyclables 7> created in 1989 has grown up and includes now 350 French cities with about 13 millions of inhabitants concerned. A chart signed in 1998 between the Club and the main national transport operators gives the opportunity to go farther and faster on this subject.
Cities and operators engaged themselves to :
1. develop cycle tracks around railway stations ;
2. install bicycle storage facilities at stations ;
3. give more facilities to cyclists to get on to trains or tubes with their bicycle.
To reach the first aim, many cities in France allow cyclists to drive on bus lanes : it's a good solution to show buses and bicycles driving friendly and to give more safety for cyclists. The required width depends on the frequency and the speed of buses: less than 30 buses per hour or 30 km/h, a 3,50 meters bus lane is enough if the bus driver can leave the lane to overtake the cyclist; on the other cases, 4,50 meters is a good width. For example, in Paris, 80 kilometers of bus lanes are opened for cyclists.
Theft is a big problem to promote bicycle: so the second aim is very important. Regional or local policy makers subsidize bicycle racks in front of railway and tramway stations : 10 bicycles or more can be strongly fixed and protected from rain all day long. For big stations, guarded storage facilities are raalised, sometimes with special bike services like repair or rent. For several years in Strasbourg, or more recently in Grenoble, these facilities have been getting a great success, espeacially from Monday to Fdday.
SNCF equips his machines with new waggons to carry bicycles : these equipments are necessary to develop the bike tourism and to amplify the promotion of Eurovelo routes. The national cycling network will be a good opportunity to develop cycle facilities to go into and out of towns.
Association for European Transport