“France is once again becoming a cycling country”, rejoices the Union sport et cycle

“France is once again becoming a cycling country”rejoices on Monday August 15 on franceinfo the general delegate of the Union sport and cycle, Virgille Caillet, while state aid, in particular for the purchase of an electric bicycle, goes from 200 to 300 euros this Monday for people whose taxable income per unit is less than 13,489 euros. “It’s obviously going in the right direction, even if there are a lot of conditions”, notes Virgille Caillet. It also falls under “weak points” persistent in the French national cycling plan. “The main obstacles to buying a bike are security, theft and damage. So it involves the construction of lanes, cycle paths and secure parking lots.”

franceinfo: Are these state aids sufficient?

Virgil Caillet: It is obviously going in the right direction, even if there are many conditions attached to this aid. All this is part of a real cultural revolution. France is once again becoming a cycling country. It will take a little time, but there has been an extremely strong acceleration in recent years. This is something that seems quite inevitable. Unquestionably, the Covid crisis has been a revealer, an accelerator. Nevertheless, over the previous few years, there was already a real fundamental movement. We had experienced a first bonus for the purchase of an electrically assisted bicycle in 2017 then, in 2018, a first national bicycle plan. Then there were the “yellow vests” and other social movements… The French therefore had several opportunities to re-examine themselves on the bicycle as a means of daily transport. This is what we are putting back in place today.

Is the e-bike market sustainable?

Unquestionably, since most of the people who go to work by bicycle, the cyclists, are among the youngest age categories, 18-25 years old, 25-34 years old. For economic reasons, of course, but also for very pragmatic reasons. There is also a fairly ideological side, so yes, it will be long term. For me, it’s not a fad and, on the contrary, I think that more and more households will realize that it’s much more profitable and much more efficient. We are much more independent on the move than with a car or public transport. So yes, we are going to a bicycle company, that’s for sure.

Do you share the opinion of the Federation of Bicycle Users for whom the priority is infrastructure?

Already, like the FUB, we note that this aid, this amendment, covers six months. We need to have indicators to see the effectiveness of these systems and possibly make them permanent. And then, what we know through the various studies that we have carried out is that the main obstacles to buying a bike are safety, theft and degradation. So it goes through lanes, cycle paths and secure parking lots. These are the weak points of the French national cycling plan. And it is on this that we must progress very quickly.

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