Paris scores poor “walkability” against reckless cyclists and electric scooters


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Paris may be on track to meet its goal of becoming one of Europe’s cycling capitals, but the city has received a less than flattering rating when it comes to welcoming pedestrians. A new survey has found its “walkability” poor – in part due to a growing population of reckless cyclists and electric scooter riders.

If you think a stroll along the banks of the Seine without a car is the perfect way to spend a leisurely afternoon in Paris, think again.

With the city’s 15,000 floating electric scooters on the prowl and cyclists approaching one million cyclists, a ride in Paris has now become a dangerous balancing act for pedestrians trying to avoid squeaky wheels and doorbells. aggressive cycling.

“Indeed, the city of Paris is not very pleasant for pedestrians, ”explains Anne Faure, manager of the Rue de l’Avenir association. This week, his association published the results of the first French survey on the “pedestrian potential of the city”, in partnership with a group for the defense of rights 60 million pedestrians and the French hiking federation (FFRandonnée).

Rated on a scale of 1 to 20, the City of Lights scored a meager 8.07, or a “D” on a scale of letters, meaning poor. Paris was rated 8.52 for pedestrian safety, 8.14 for walking comfort and just 7.00 for its efforts to improve pedestrian welfare.

Paris: pedal-but not pedestrian-friendly

“For a few years now, the city of Paris has done a lot of work to accommodate bicycles, which is of course a good thing because it was far behind other European cities in this area. But this has created conflicts over the use of car-free zones, especially for pedestrians, ”Faure told FRANCE 24.

“The pedestrians are not very happy because they have the impression that the bicycles occupy a lot of public space”, she added, underlining the enormous effort of the town hall to make Paris more friendly for pedals, in adding thousands of new bike lanes and expanding availability. bicycles for hire over the past few years.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also prompted the city to create high-speed “Covid lanes” – and not always safe for pedestrians – encouraging people to jump on bikes rather than on public transport when crossing the road. city.

READ MORE >> Covid-19: transmission fears trigger a cycling frenzy in post-containment Paris

“This summer, a new cycle path suddenly appeared in the middle of the road. Where is the space for pedestrians, strollers and wheelchairs? »Inhabitant Olivier Ansart of Lessan job on Twitter, with a photo of a freshly painted cycle path encroaching heavily on a sidewalk.

Meanwhile, Odile Jersyk, 57, has decided to do something about reckless cyclists, starting a course to teach adults how to pedal safely while staying well behaved. “Bicycles should not become tools to terrorize pedestrians,” she said in a film maintenance with the French daily Le Parisien.

Scary scooters

Another major concern is the increase in reckless use of electric scooters, says Faure of Rue de l’Avenir. In theory, electric scooters are limited to 20 km / h in Paris and 10 km / h in certain neighborhoods such as the Champs-Élysées. But in practice, they often represent a fatal danger for pedestrians.

“Electric scooters must either be banned or more closely monitored,” Faure said. “There have already been a dozen deaths in the past two years,” she said. In June, a 31-year-old Italian national died after being run over by an electric scooter carrying two women along the banks of the Seine.

Sunday, the Parisian journalist Brice Couturier tweeted his frustration with bicycles and electric scooters, saying they had become “a plague” for pedestrians. “Cars have learned to stop at red lights,” he writes. “But with electric scooters on the sidewalks and bicycles not obeying all types of traffic rules, the life of Parisian pedestrians has become hell.”

Faure said the recent decision by Paris authorities to lower the speed limit for cars to 30 km / h, from 50 km / h, is likely to increase the city’s “walkability” score in the next survey. However, she added, more needs to be done to accommodate pedestrians, including adding “more benches for older pedestrians, as well as toilets and water fountains”.

Some 68,510 people took part in the online survey, which investigated the pedestrian potential of 200 French cities. Its results will be presented to municipal authorities in Marseille – France’s second largest city, which achieved a record 5.19 (“G”) score – on September 17.

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