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Paris region to boost cycle commuting with bike parks and e-bikes

by Reuters
Wednesday, 13 March 2019 18:38 GMT

A commuter rides a bike-sharing service bicycle at the Pont de Bir-Hakeim bridge near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, September 14, 2018. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

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Less than 2 percent of Ile-de-France residents cycle to work, compared to 10 percent in Germany and 20 percent in the Netherlands, says region's head

* Paris region to build new bike lanes and infrastructure

* More secure bike parking spots at railway stations

* New electric bike rentals a help for hilly commutes

By Geert De Clercq

PARIS, March 13 (Reuters) - The Paris region wants to boost the number of people who cycle to work by investing in new cycle lanes and infrastructure and a subsidised electric bike rental scheme.

Valerie Pecresse, conservative head of the Ile-de-France region around the French capital, said it would invest 100 million euros ($113 million) to get to 2 million commuter journeys per day by 2021.

"Less than 2 percent of Ile-de-France residents cycle to work, compared to 10 percent in Germany and 20 percent in the Netherlands," she told reporters on Wednesday.

"We are way behind and we want to reach 6 percent by 2021," she said, noting that half of the commutes done by car were less than 3 km (2 miles) long.

Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo wants to ban fossil-fuel cars in Paris itself by 2030, but Pecresse is putting the emphasis on encouraging drivers to switch to cycling and public transport as part of a model that combines all three modes of transport.

The region wants to make train stations, schools and office zones easily reachable by bike through a network of bike lanes.

To make it easier for the 12 million Ile-de-France residents to stop driving into Paris, the region will subsidise more than 10,000 secure bike parking spots in more than 150 railway stations.

And commuters who live in hilly areas or who want to commute 10 km or more will be offered the chance to rent an electric bike for up to six months at 40 euros ($45) per month, of which half can be reimbursed by employers.

($1 = 0.8846 euros) (Reporting by Geert De Clercq)

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