The French government said on Tuesday whilst renewing its four-year “Plan Vélo” that it would boost state support for cycling in 2023. By doing so, France is hoping to promote the use of bicycles for transport in rural areas, improve citizens’ health, and use them in the energy transition.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told reporters a new 250 million euro ($249 million) cycling fund will boost bike infrastructure and finance cycling lessons for 800,000 school children. It represents the most money committed to cycling in a single year in France. Plan Vélo was initially created by PM Elisabeth Borne whilst she was responsible for Transport in 2018.
“Cycling in cities has really taken off in recent years, the challenge for the coming years will be to show that cycling can also be a mode of transport in rural areas,” she said.
Borne said that thanks to 14,000 kilometres of new bike lanes and subsidies for buying and fixing bicycles, they had become the most-sold means of transport, with 2.7 million sold in 2021.
At a time when we have provided so much support for fuel and cars, it is important to show that we also support other forms of transport. We want to make the bicycle a real means of transport, not just a thing of leisure,”France’s Transport Minister Clement Beaune, as told to Le Parisien newspaper
However, climatologist Valérie Masson-Delmotte and president of the French Federation of Bike Users (FUB) Olivier Schneider had earlier suggested that $2.4 billion would be needed for France to meet its objective of massively increasing cycle use. And this year in contrast, the French government has offered subsidised rebates on car fuel prices at a cost of 7.5 billion euros.