Make cycling and walking an attractive alternative to the private car for local journeys and combined with public transport for longer-distance journeys.
Velo & Marche Plan 2023 - 2027: 1st Interministerial Committee
Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 means continuing and stepping up the reduction of greenhouse gases throughout the country. While we are on the right track, this objective requires additional efforts every day, and requires us to transform the way we live, consume and produce. It also means revolutionising the transport sector and decarbonising our mobility. To give every French person access to clean mobility, Elisabeth Borne’s government wants to make cycling and walking an attractive alternative to the private car for local journeys and combined with public transport for longer journeys.
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Developing a suitable and safe cycle network
Priority to the development of cycling infrastructure
On 20 September 2022, the Prime Minister announced the renewal of the active mobility fund, increased to €250 million for 2023, including €200 million dedicated to infrastructure.
On 21 January, the Government launched a new call for projects for the active mobility fund - cycle facilities, with a budget of €100 million to finance projects for safe cycle facilities. 610 applications had been received by the close of the call for projects at the end of April, demonstrating the high level of demand from local authorities for this call for projects. The winners will be announced in September.
An experimental call for cycling areas will be launched in the next few days to provide long-term support for areas of low or medium density and speed up the implementation of their cycling plans, to the tune of 100 million euros.
Over the duration of the plan, the Active Mobility Fund will be perpetuated to the tune of €1.25 billion, or €250 million a year, to accelerate the development of cycling facilities throughout France. This is an unprecedented effort on the part of the State.
The cycle route network is the key national and regional network. Providing safe, long-distance travel, this network meets a strong demand from users, who are increasingly interested in cycle tourism, while at the same time offering safe solutions for everyday and leisure travel. Through the 2023-2027 State-Region Plan Contracts (CPER), the State will for the first time be helping to complete the territorial coverage of these networks, and will be prepared to contract up to €200 million. This will help to make the country more accessible and strengthen the local economy.
Following an update by local stakeholders, a ministerial decree of 5 May 2023 formalises the national cycle route plan. In particular, developers of road, rail and waterway infrastructure are required to take it into account in their projects.
By the end of 2022, 57,000 km of safe cycle routes will have been built across the country. The aim is to reach 80,000 km by 2027 and 100,000 km by 2030.
Supporting towns and local authorities committed to the development of walking and cycling
The ID-Marche programme - initiative for the development of walking - launched in 2023, is the first national programme to support pedestrian mobility. Its aim is to step up support for local authorities to encourage walking policies in towns and villages, over a period of 4 years. To support local policies, €4 million will be invested over 4 years by the Ministry of Transport, Cerema and Ademe, which will manage the programme.
The Fonds d’accélération de la transition écologique des territoires, also known as the Green Fund, is designed in particular to support the roll-out of low-emission mobility zones (ZFE-m). Among the wide range of projects eligible for support, there are many aimed at developing cycling: support for the use of bicycles, development of cycle tourism and cycle facilities.
The Avélo3 programme will be launched by the end of 2023. Spearheaded by Ademe, it follows on from the Avélo1 and 2 programmes, which helped 600 sparsely populated areas to develop a cycling strategy. This new edition will provide support for 350 new local authorities, particularly in low- and medium-density areas, in defining and implementing their cycling policy. The aim is for 100% of the country to be covered by a cycling policy by 2030, and for the départements and regions to develop cycle access to secondary schools. The programme has a budget of €30 million, financed by energy saving certificates, and will be supplemented by €7 million of Ademe’s own funds. This overall budget of €37 million and Ademe’s investment underline the importance of making the entire country cycleable.
Raising awareness to improve safety for cyclists and pedestrians
The number of cycling accidents is increasing as the use of bicycles expands. While in built-up areas the increase appears to be contained in view of the very strong growth in use, outside built-up areas the situation is more worrying, with a large number of single cyclists falling off their bikes.
Alongside the development of cycling facilities, it is necessary to improve cyclists’ safety by raising awareness. Cyclists will be encouraged to wear helmets and high-visibility waistcoats at all times to improve their visibility, especially at night and in poorly lit environments.
The agreement between the State and insurers will enable insurers to become more involved in improving cycling safety, in particular by supporting or funding awareness-raising initiatives.
To support the development of cycling to work, the charter of commitments signed by employers (2,600 companies, more than 4 million employees) to combat occupational road risk, the leading cause of death in the workplace, developed around the risks associated with car and motorised two-wheeler mobility, will be explicitly extended to cover cycling risks, creating a Charter of 7 Commitments +. This new charter will aim to improve compliance with the highway code, promote devices that improve the visibility and safety of cyclists, and improve the maintenance of bicycles and other means of transport.
The Road Safety Delegation is implementing a communication strategy based on the slogan « Attention aux vélos, attention à vélo », which is aimed at cyclists, vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, as well as motorists and other motorised road users, to encourage them to be more attentive. For example, the campaign aimed at motorists entitled Door left, hand right, door right, hand left (October 2022), designed to introduce the new reflex of swivelling to look more closely at the blind spot and thus combat cyclists, scooterists and other motorised two-wheeler users being caught in the act, will be repeated. It will be accompanied, in the second quarter of 2023, by the launch of a dual campaign aimed at cyclists in built-up areas and cyclists outside built-up areas. This campaign will disseminate advice given by experienced cyclists to novice cyclists, using billboards, the regional daily press and digital media.
From 2024 onwards, an information campaign aimed at cyclists and vulnerable road users, tailored to the accident rate and changes in practices, will be launched every spring.
Improving the safety of cyclists and pedestrians by adapting the highway code
Two experiments aimed at making it easier for cyclists to stop and restart at red lights will be carried out. Firstly, in conjunction with the local authorities that manage the roads, it is proposed to install footrests at the edge of the carriageway to enable cyclists to stop at traffic lights without having to dismount. In addition, a delay in the green light changeover for cyclists will be tried out to enable them to clear the lock and regain sufficient speed before the other vehicles leave, thus ensuring that they leave safely when the light turns green.
To ensure that motorised vehicles, particularly HGVs, can identify cyclists stopped at traffic lights, the provision of a space upstream of the traffic light - a cycle lock - will be introduced as a general rule for new developments from 2024. Road managers will have 10 years to bring existing facilities into compliance. An experiment to detect the presence of vehicles in cycle lanes, which was carried out in the Nantes conurbation, will be extended to the whole of France. This is an educational device that alerts drivers when they encroach on the cycle lane. This device and the communication that will accompany it will help to educate drivers to respect the cycle lane and share road space more effectively.
Current regulations only allow a white light at the front and a red light at the rear of the bicycle, both of which are non-flashing. This equipment is compulsory for use on roads open to traffic. The installation of any other light device is prohibited. These regulations will be adapted to allow additional lights to be fitted to both the bike and the rider, in particular red stop lights and orange flashers to indicate a change of direction.
At present, the Highway Code prohibits overtaking a vehicle on the right, and this prohibition also applies to bicycles and other personal mobility devices. This rule will be lifted on an experimental basis for cyclists, while at the same time reminding them of the caution that must accompany this practice. It will continue to be forbidden to overtake a vehicle displaying a blind spot sticker.
Stepping up the fight against theft and developing secure cycle parking
From 2021, all bicycles sold in France must be identified. The unique national database of identified cycles, set up in 2021, currently lists 4 million bicycles. The marking system has already enabled almost 10% of the 20,000 thefts reported to the database to be returned to their owners. To step up the commitment of government departments in the fight against theft, an agreement has been signed between the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Transport and the Association for the Promotion and Identification of Cycles and Active Mobility (APIC), which manages the national file of identified cycles. Today, police forces and half of municipal police forces are equipped with applications that enable them to contact the owner of an identified and recovered bicycle.
Two years after the creation of the national bicycle identification database, 4 million bicycles have already been registered. The aim is to reach 13 million by 2027. The European directive on the energy performance of buildings (DPEB) is currently being revised. It should reinforce the obligation to install bicycle parking facilities in new and renovated residential and non-residential buildings. Once the European negotiations have been completed and the directive published, France will transpose it as soon as possible, which will complement the changes already made to the Construction and Housing Code between 2019 and 2022 in application of the Mobility Orientation Act.
The Alvéole + programme, with €35 million in energy saving certificates, helps local authorities, social landlords, condominiums and schools to equip themselves with secure bicycle parking facilities. 5,000 of the targeted 100,000 spaces have already been co-financed. Thanks to the France relance plan, €45 million is being made available, via funding agreements, to develop secure cycle parking facilities at more than 1,100 of France’s busiest stations. The aim is to triple the number of spaces by 2022 and reach 90,000 secure spaces by 2027.