This Tuesday, September 20, the 2023 bicycle plan was presented, with a budget envelope of 250 million euros. It is also an opportunity to take stock of the number of cycle facilities deployed in France.
Elisabeth Borne has big ambitions for cycling in France. The Prime Minister presented on Tuesday, September 20, 2022 a new action plan of 250 million euros allocated for the year 2023. This project provides 200 million euros for cycling infrastructure, against 50 million for parking.
The press kit published by the government also takes stock of the cycling facilities installed in France, based on data from the site amenagements-cyclables.fr. The opportunity to make a small state of national links, comparing today’s figures to those of previous years.
A downward trend
To begin, it is necessary to define the term “cycling facilities”. These include cycle paths, greenways, cycle lanes, two-way cycle routes and shared bus lanes. All of these developments are calculated in km: in September 2022, there were 76,573 km.
Below is a table summarizing the changes observed between 2017 and September 2022:
|Cycling facilities||54,400 km||57,800 km||62,900 km||69,000 km||73,730 km||76,573 km|
Here, it is interesting to compare the differences between each year:
- Between 2017 and 2018: 3400 km more;
- Between 2018 and 2019: 5100 km more;
- Between 2019 and 2020: 6100 km more;
- Between 2020 and 2021: 4730 km more;
- Between 2021 and September 2022: 2843 km more.
The least we can say is that the trend has been downward since the year 2021. A decline that seems to continue in the year 2022 in view of the current figures, although they should increase slightly in taking into account the fourth quarter. Without either exceeding 5000 km given the current pace.
However, cycling has been climbing steadily since 2019, according to a recent study by Vélo & Territoires, with a jump of 33% across the country. Between 2021 and 2022, cycling traffic has so far recorded a leap of 11%. It is therefore necessary to redouble our efforts in terms of infrastructure.
The 250 million euro cycling plan comes at just the right time to multiply developments, both in towns and in peri-urban and rural areas. Especially since the government’s press kit mentions a “a boom in bicycle purchases, in particular electrically assisted bicycles (VAE)“.
Since 2018,there are 10.8 million bicycles sold, including 1.9 pedelecs for 6.6 million euros in purchase aid paid“. There is therefore a gap between the dynamics of sales and cycling traffic on the one hand, and the number of cycling facilities deployed on the other. Who says discrepancy, also says imbalance.
By way of comparison, the Netherlands, considered the land of bicycles, has 35,000 kilometers of cycle network over an overall area of 41,530 km2. France claims an area of 543,940 km². The Netherlands therefore has half as many km of facilities… for a size thirteen times smaller than that of France.