- Author : Marc di Rosa
- Master : 3050
THE BIKE REVOLUTION | M6 | Enquête Exclusive
For several years cycling has been on the constant rise in France. In fact, it exploded after the first lockdown with a leap of 30% between May and September 2020. Last year all records were broken: 1783km of cycle track were opened, nearly 200,000 cycle rentals per day were made during the Paris rush hour and sales of new bikes soared by nearly 120% during the summer. The bike revolution is a gust of freedom blowing across France. However, it’s not all plain sailing in this world. The ongoing revolution is not without its setbacks. Because cycling is not risk free: cyclists are still just as vulnerable in an accident. Every year more than 60,000 cyclists end up in a hospital ER. And now the bike is “pampered” by political leaders, so much so that some cyclists consider themselves above the law. They act as if they owned the road. The police are sometimes obliged to hand out tickets for breaches: red lights run, right-of-way ignored, etc. We accompanied a police cycle patrol on its delicate mission of controlling traffic. Even though the bike is presented as “soft transport” by its supporters, there are clans that take it to extremes. Such as with “bike life”, a discipline imported from the United States that is enjoying enormous popularity with French teens. It’s one of the rare means for young people to let off steam during the lockdowns, but it encourages them to perform stunts in the midst of cars and pedestrians. Finally, the bike is a business with a hidden face. Bike theft has become a real scourge: on average, one bike is stolen every minute in France. These bicycles are often resold on the Internet. Although bike delivery start-ups may be more respectful of the environment, they don’t always act so towards their riders, who, in order to eke out a living, are forced to run all sorts of risks.