Easy rider?

I met Frédéric Héran, this February at the reprint party for Olivier Razemon’s book ‘Comment la France a tué ses villes’. He was talking with the transport blogger Isabelle le vélo. As the conversation evolved, I followed her lead and started taking notes.

Love them or hate them, motorised two-wheeled vehicles, aka motorbikes, scooters, and other derivatives, are very much part of the C21st mobilityscape. Together with Isabelle, and thanks to Mr Héran, I gleaned the following insight on their presence and popularity in Paris/France…

According to data collected by the Mairie de Paris – bilan de déplacements 2015motorised two-wheelers on the inner city roads decreased by 7% between 2014 and 2015.

Nationwide, their sales have declined by 44% since 2007 and this is largely down to the danger factor. Riders run a X40 higher risk of accidents than car drivers and occupants. Motorised two-wheelers represent just 5% of traffic on Paris Boulevard Périphérique, yet are involved in 75% of accidents on this hectic ring road

“However the accident risk must be assessed depending on the exposure time rather than the distance covered,” insists Mr Héran. “Otherwise it tends to be minimised for the faster modes of transport, which would be ironic.”

Other factors  influencing the loss of motorised two-wheeler appeal are the rise in alternative mobility modes like car-sharing, growing awareness of the importance of physical activity (i.e. walking and cycling), and… the cold! Riding fast wheels might look cool in the summer; come winter, leathers or no leathers, when the mercury falls…

Yet according to the Marie de Paris’ bilan, between 2008 and 2015, the share of self-service Vélib’ bikes used dropped in favour of motorbikes and company.

 

This week’s picks

‘Le retour de la bicyclette – une histoire des déplacements urbains en Europe, de 1817 à 2050’ – Frédéric Héran, Editions La Découverte/Poche

‘Public Transport Trends 2017’ – (the section on the motorcycle boom and its impact on urban mobility)

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