Bike riding has become popular in Paris, France. It’s so popular that it is causing traffic jams. Bike lanes fill up with too many bicycles and scooters. Riders wait in wheel-to-wheel lines. They get in each other’s way. Sometimes they get mad.
It's causing a new kind of road rage in the City of Light.
City of Bikes?
Nearly 10 years ago, Mayor Anne Hidalgo started to make Paris a bike-friendly city. Her work has been a major success.
Today, bikes and cars compete for road space. In fact, bikes outnumber cars during the busiest hours on some Paris streets. A few roads have even banned all motor vehicles.
A busy highway near the River Seine is now a path for runners, walkers, and bikers. And more bike lanes are coming ahead of next year’s Paris Olympics.
Sébastopol Boulevard is an important road in Paris. It has become one of the busiest bike routes in Europe. In early September, a record 124,000 people used the bike path weekly. The route is busier than bike paths in London and Amsterdam.
Things don’t always run smoothly in Paris’s busy bike lanes. Drivers get angry with bikers. Scooters push their way through traffic. People on foot try not to get hit. And roadwork is everywhere ahead of the 2024 Olympics in Paris.
New bikers often don’t follow road rules and red lights. On a normal day, traffic officers blow their whistles. Bikers ring their bells. Drivers honk their horns.
For Better and Worse
Even with the problems, most people feel that more biking is good. Bikes are better for the planet and for people’s health. They don’t pollute. The air in Paris is often polluted.
French officials said pollution causes 48,000 early deaths per year in the country. That’s one main reason why Hidalgo pushed for bike-friendly roads. She said she wanted “a Paris that breathes.”
Ange Gadou, 19, used to rent e-scooters. The city banned the rentals. Now, Gadou bikes.
“It’s a feeling of freedom, rather than being in the Metro, sitting down or in the heat,” she said. “There’s nothing about it I don’t like.”
- jams n. times when drivers can’t move because there is too much traffic
- outnumber v. be more than someone or something else in number
- routes n. ways to get from one place to another place
- stand each other (idiom) be able to work or live beside someone; likes each other
- selfishly adv. showing interest only in yourself and not the feelings of others