Chain reaction: Bikes and pedestrians do battle on COVID-era Paris sidewalks


PARIS — Parisian commuters in their thousands reacted to the COVID-19 epidemic by ditching public transport and walking or biking instead, but now they find themselves fighting each other for space on the crowded streets.

Twice daily during rush hour, throngs of cyclists teem through central Paris, in many places using cycle lanes specially widened to encourage people to avoid cramming into the metro where they risk spreading the disease.

At junctions and pedestrian crossings, the flow of cyclists intersects with a flow of people on foot. On occasion, cyclists ride through red lights, or pedestrians step out into a cycle lane without looking. Accidents and near-misses are common.

“Cyclists are not so careful with pedestrians. They just keep going,” said Nadine Lefebvre, a 66-year-old retiree. “This morning on the pavement, a bicycle slalomed around me, because he could no longer pass on the road.”

In September last year sensors in Paris detected an average of 55.8 cyclists per hour around the city; this September the figure is up to 97.2 per hour.

Paris city authorities have sent out marshals to keep order in the cycle lanes, and they say they are imposing on-the-spot fines of up to 135 euros ($157) for cyclists who break the rules.

David Belliard, deputy mayor of Paris, said he wanted to create a “pedestrians’ committee” to draw up proposals on how to better share city streets with cyclists.

“We must protect the pedestrians,” he said.

Previously, the most heated turf war on the streets of Paris was between cars and other, greener forms of transport.

Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo has partially settled that argument, by restricting access for cars in many streets. Her ultimate goal is to pedestrianise the city centre.

The section of Paris’ Rue de Rivoli thoroughfare that runs past the Louvre Museum used to have three lanes of traffic and a cycle lane. Since May this year, private vehicles are banned, and three lanes are given over to cyclists.



Source link

Discover

Sponsor

Latest

U.S. reports record Covid hospitalizations as states roll out restrictions again

Medical professionals treat a patient infected with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at United Memorial Medical Center in Houston, Texas, November 12, 2020.Callaghan O'Hare...

Our thoughts on Monster Truck Championship and the cars of Cyberpunk 2077

Autoblog may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page. Pricing and availability is subject to change. The video game...

100 year-old Dow stock Honeywell is big bet on future

Darius Adamczyk, CEO of HoneywellAdam Jeffery | CNBCMost companies kicked off the Dow Jones Industrial Average don't make it back on. But Honeywell,...

TikTok deal to sell U.S. business could be announced as soon as Tuesday

TikTok has chosen a bidder for its U.S., New Zealand and Australian businesses, and it could announce the deal as soon as Tuesday,...

Asia stocks rise as Japan’s Softbank soars nearly 9% following Arm deal announcement

Stocks in Asia-Pacific rose in Monday morning trade, with investors watching shares of Japanese conglomerate Softbank Group following an announcement of its sale...