17 October 2011

Bicycle Infrastructure 'n Stuff in Paris & Bordeaux

Paris Cycle Track
In Paris recently, on my way to Bordeaux to take part in an expert panel who analysed Bordeaux's proposed bike plan, I hung out with my friend Rebecca. We took Velib bike share bicycles to Montparnasse train station so I could catch the TGV to Bordeaux. Here's a new cycle track behind Parc du Luxembourg. Nicely designed.
Rebecca in Paris_1
My suitcase didn't really fit in the Velib basket. But I brought a bungee cord, 'cause I knew that. I prefer the racks on Bicing in Barcelona. You can squeeze anything in there.

Paris Bus and Cycle Lane
When Velib started you could share the bus lanes in Paris. Great in that city because the buses stop so frequently. Then, I've heard, they disallowed cycling in the bus lanes. Now, on certain stretches, it's allowed again. Here, heading down towards Montparnasse. Nice and wide.

More infrastructure from Paris from other trips:
Paris Bike Culture - Cycling Sociably Paris Cycle Chic - Blue Boots Infrastructure Attentions Pietons Paris Infrastructure Dual Vélo Liberté - Parisian Bike Culture Paris Bike Lanes Paris Turning LaneInfrastructure Paris Bike Lane Vélo Hommes - Cycling Chaps in Paris Paris Traffic

Bordeaux Cycle Track
Bordeaux has 9% modal share for bicycles in the city centre. Here's a cycle track (one of those pesky bi-directional ones, but hey).

Bordeaux Bike Box
A bike box. Pulling the stop lines back for cars is an incredibly effective traffic calming measure at intersections for cyclists and pedestrians alike. We've been doing it in Copenhagen since 2008.

Bordeaux Bike Lane
Basic painted lane on a side street.

Bordeaux Bicycle Signage_2
Cool, elegant bike lane pictogram near the station.

Bordeaux Bicycle Signage
Bicycle signage.

Bordeaux Bicycle Signage_1
Nothing like a 20 km/h zone complete with contraflow for bicycles.

Bordeaux VCub Bike Share
Coolest graphic design I've ever seen on a bike share bike. It was a public competition to design the graphics and the logo.

Bordeaux Cycle Chic Hommes (13)
And it's a great success so far.


Anonymous said...

La France me manque. veronica

Vladimir 'vudu' Zlokazov said...

What's wrong with bi-directional cycle tracks except for cases when they're not wide enough?

PY said...

Well, IMO bi-directionnal bikelanes are less "natural" when on street or close to one. It makes perfect sense in a park etc. but i is much easier to get on/off the path from/to the road when using unidirectionnal bikeways.

Anonymous said...

I guess that the one big advantage is that you may have room both for parked cars on one side and a bikelane on the opposite side of the street. No fear of "dooring".

greencustodian said...

I notice the Bordeaux bikes are shaft driven instead of having a chain. Does that work well in bike-shares? More awkward maintenance but at proportionally longer intervals, is that it?

Klaus Mohn said...

There was never a reversal of the authorisation of bikes in bus lanes; they've been gradually opening to us since 2001. There were some high-profile deaths in bus lanes when the Vélib was launched in 2007, all of which happened in lanes that were not open to cyclists (too narrow) but not signalled clearly. As usual, he city's solution was to reinforce the interdiction with more signs, not to improve conditions for cyclists.

Like David Hembrow says, buses and bicycles do not mix well. Because of this shitty model, we're still sharing the road with heavy vehicles who stop-and-go while we try to keep a steady pace. A few chosen consequences:

- many bus lanes closed to us are contraflow on big arterials; our permeability is decreased immensely by our exclusion. That's anti-bike.

- bus drivers (and taxi drivers, who are allowed in all bus lanes and are notorious car supremacists) freak out at you when you're in a non-cyclist bus lane, even when you're being totally safe and don't have a choice. Check out this picture: can you tell where the bike lane is? Yup, it's the shitty 40-cm strip between the illegally-parked Clio and the passing bus. If you don't take it (because it's wet or covered in dirt and leaves for 7 months a year, for example), you get honked at and dangerously passed. In a descent. Zoom out and see how wide the boulevard is. City planners don't give a shit about cyclists.

- Sharing is not caring. A bus driver doesn't care anymore than a car driver about your safety. There's no riding socially no three-feet-please, nothing. And Buses are a lot likelier than cars to kill you. That's anti-bike.

All this to say, I'm glad you had a nice ride in Paris, Mikael, but don't say Paris has good infra. It's shit . And I say that as an "avid cyclist".

Klaus Mohn said...

I actually feel like adding stuff, sadly: this nice southbound buffered bike lane on rue Guynemer (first pic) is on a a long-way-around itinerary. Just because the city tells me I should use it doesn't make it shorter than the straight route to Montparnasse, which has zero cycling provisions. Also, there is no matching northbound bike lane on the street, as building one would be inconvenient to drivers and parkers.
On the last pic, you're on the boulevard du Montparnasse, safe from everyone but rogue bus drivers... but clearly not prioritised in terms of red lights. If there's a sync, it's certainly not for bikes. There would be room for bike lanes on either side of the street, but illegal car paking is too important; it's privately enforced by valet services privatizing the public space in front of swanky restaurants for suburban honchos who drive their luxury berlines to dinner. Eff that.

Kim said...

Looking at the comments here is worth noting that in 2011 there were zero cycles killed on the roads of Paris. Now compare that with a city of a similar which also has a similar bike hire scheme, which had 16 cycle deaths in the same year. The difference is in the quality of the cycle infrastructure.