STREETFILMS: Regardez Ces Pistes Cyclables Impressionnantes Parisiennes!

The Rue de Rivoli with Clarence Eckerson Jr.
The Rue de Rivoli with Clarence Eckerson Jr.

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Formidable!

Clarence Eckerson of our sister site, Streetfilms, went to Paris … and all you got was a stunning three-minute video that reminds you how shitty New York City bike lanes compared to the City of Light.

In Paris, for example, the city dramatically expanded its bike lanes during the Covid pandemic — and then widened them as demand increased. Compare that to New York City, where Eckerson has continually documented how protected bike lanes on Second Avenue, First Avenue and Kent Avenue have become dangerously overcrowded, which will either discourage cycling or force cyclists to pick different routes (Third Avenue, anyone?) that will put them in even graver danger.

But in Paris? Sacre bleu, the mayor responded to the Covid crisis and subsequent bike boom by flipping the age-old script on road allocation. Instead of giving car drivers 75 percent of the space on the Rue de Rivoli, Mayor Anne Hidalgo squeezed the drivers into one lane and gave cyclists the rest.

“You feel there’s a buffer of safety when [bike lanes] are that wide,” Eckerson says in the film.

You can see exactly what Paris did in this one frame grab. See how the original two-way bike path on the Rue de Rivoli (right) was doubled in width, even though there were cement pedestrian islands (just as there are on First and Second avenues in New York). There’s no reason why the cement needs to be moved:

The original bike lane is where the woman on the scooter is. The added bike lane is on the left. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.
The original bike lane is where the woman on the scooter is. The added bike lane is on the left. Photo: Clarence Eckerson Jr.

“Unlike Paris, we’re not building for the future in New York,” Eckerson concludes. “Let’s get to work. Let’s start widening [our] lanes.”

Here’s the stunning film:

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