Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In

STREETFILMS: <i>Regardez Ces Pistes Impressionnantes Cyclables Parisiennes!</i>

11:32 AM PDT on July 20, 2022


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:

Advertisement: Used Dutch Bikes is your one-stop-shop for authentic Dutch bicycles. Choose from classic “grandma bikes” to modern seven-speeds that can haul three kids without breaking a sweat. We carry authentic brands like Gazelle, Batavus, BSP, Burgers, Cortina, and more — available in the USA for the first time!

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Advocates Hammer City College Trustees’ Climate Hypocrisy on Frida Kahlo Way

City College talks a good game about supporting bike lanes and better transit, until it comes to losing a few parking spaces

March 1, 2024

Friday’s Headlines

Some cities are reaching Vision Zero targets (not in CA); Walking is dangerous because drivers are; How is SF's Central Subway helping Chinatown? More

March 1, 2024

To Recruit Transit Workers, More Than Higher Pay Is Needed

Labor shortages continue threatening public transit systems, and a new report adds another layer to the conversation.

February 29, 2024

Eyes on the Street: 8th Street in West Oakland Looking Good

A project to transform 8th from a deadly speedway back into a residential street is making real progress

February 29, 2024
See all posts