French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe has revealed plans to use the 2024 Olympics as the impetus to grow transport cycling in France. Speaking in Nantes at the weekend, Philippe said:
"We plan to triple the share of cycling to 9 percent by 2024, when we host the Olympics."
The French Government is to invest 350 million euros in cycling infrastructure the next seven years. (President Emmanuel Macron made an election promise of 200 million euros per year.)
Unlike most other French policy issues, cycleway construction is not a national but a local responsibility, with the result that French cycleways – like their locally funded counterparts in the UK – tend to run for short stretches and rarely connect with other cycleways.
Philippe said the state will help local authorities finance new construction to reduce gaps between bike lanes, reports Reuters.
"The discontinuity on the bike lane maps creates insecurity and discourages people from cycling," he said.
The French Government is to also widen financial incentives for bike commuting. Philippe said all civil servants will receive a 200 euro per year tax-free incentive for cycling to work, while private companies will have the option to pay their employees up to 400 euros tax-free per year.
The Government will also put in place a mandatory identification engraving system for new bikes.