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Official report uncovers unexpected way urban-dwellers are getting around their city: 'Paths are always full'

This city has been at the forefront of the anti-car movement in recent years.

This city has been at the forefront of the anti-car movement in recent years.

Photo Credit: iStock

An official report on the modes of transportation that people use in Paris arrived at an unsurprising but heartening conclusion: If you build more bike paths, people will bike a lot more.

Not only did the report show an uptick in biking, but it also revealed that cyclists now outnumber motorists in the City of Love. The report was summarized in Forbes.

"[The] capital's cycle paths are always full," French TV channel 20 Minutes reported.

Paris has been at the forefront of the anti-car movement in recent years, led by Mayor Anne Hidalgo, a member of the Socialist Party. Hidalgo has held office for the last 10 years and has enacted several policies intended to curb car-related pollution. These have included the bike paths as well as raising parking fees for SUVs and large cars.

As Forbes noted, the anti-car legislation has been popular with the French public, as it improved air quality, decreased noise pollution, and made the city more walkable (as well as bikeable).

Biking, unlike driving a car, produces zero planet-overheating pollution. It also saves money and is great exercise. While it is not accessible to everyone — such as people with disabilities — the data out of Paris shows that making it easier and safer to get around by bike increases the number of cyclists on the roads.

For contrast, we can look at New York as an example of a city that can do more for its cyclists — and by extension its citizens who appreciate clean air. From 2017 to 2021, there were nearly 20 times more motorists than cyclists in NYC. While it does have bike lanes, many are unprotected and unenforced, essentially turning them into idling zones.

In a viral video from 2012, YouTuber Casey Neistat humorously demonstrated how ineffective the bike lanes are.

The stark difference between Paris and New York shows how much public policy can make a difference when it comes to decreasing pollution and increasing people's quality of life. The good news is that New York is in the process of implementing congestion pricing to curb the number of cars in Manhattan.

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