Bike more popular than car in inner Paris

In Paris, the bicycle has overtaken the car as a means of transport and is now behind walking and public transport.

According to a survey by the Paris Region Institute (IPR), conducted at the request of some 15 public and private institutions, Parisians use bicycles more, chosen for 11,2% of intramural trips, than cars, with a meager 4,3%.

Walking most popular

Walking, however, continues to dominate (53,5%), ahead of public transport (30%). These proportions change considerably once one crosses the Ring Road that surrounds Paris intramural and separates it from the suburban municipalities: public transport takes the lead for journeys between Paris and the suburbs (66% in the inner suburbs, 77% in the larger ones).

The use of the car is essential for journeys between the two suburbs (49%), even more so for those within the greater suburbs (61%). “Car use increases with distance from Paris and that of public transport decreases,” underlines the IPR which sees this as a sign of “automotive dependence”.

The 200 km of Grand Paris Express metro lines currently under construction should help reverse this trend, particularly in the inner suburbs.

Per day, 34.5 million trips are made in Île-de-France

Less space for cars

But in Paris itself, the bicycle has thus clearly established itself, and IPR underlines the surely revolutionary turnaround. In recent years, space for cars in Paris has shrunk considerably in favor of more green, pedestrian, and bicycle traffic, for which the network of cycle lanes has been significantly expanded.

In February, for example, Parisians approved by 54,55% the proposal from PS mayor Anne Hidalgo to triple parking prices for the largest cars.

Paris is also notably the only city in France, along with Lyon, that will ban Crit’Air 3 category cars, i.e., diesel vehicles over 14 years old or gasoline cars over 19 years old, from January 2025.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Parisians, as in many other cities worldwide, were also encouraged to travel by bicycle to avoid crowded public transport, which boosted bicycle use.

The study, conducted between October 2022 and April 2023, collected data from 3,337 residents of the Ile-de-France region aged 16 to 80.

Backtrack in Berlin

In Berlin, however, we see the opposite movement. After the previous city government, a coalition of SPD, Grünen, and Die Linke, successfully promoted cycling, the new Berlin government of CDU and SPD has turned back the clock and is no longer pursuing what it now calls an “anti-car policy.”

For example, the busy Friedrichstrasse became accessible to cars again on 1 July, while it had previously been a bicycle street. The plan to add thousands of miles of cycling lanes was also put on hold.

Berlin is ranked as Germany’s most polluted city. There are 1,23 million registered cars, and 10,000 more arrive in the city each year.

By contrast, German cities Hannover and Tübingen are planning to build more cycling infrastructure. Hannover, together with Bremen and Munster, is considered one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world due to its vast bike lane network and no-car days. It wants to make cycling its main mode of transport by 2025.


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