Lille has ordered cyclists to get off their bikes when passing through pedestrian zones, Source: Depositphotos

What’s behind Lille's "Cyclists, feet on the ground" policy?

What’s behind Lille's "Cyclists, feet on the ground" policy?

It seems that expanding urban pedestrianization might cause new mobility wars

At the start of the month, the local government in Lille decided to severely curtail the movement of individual soft mobility vehicles through the pedestrian zones in the central area. This means that since 9 October cyclists, skateboarders and scooter riders have had to step off their vehicles and carry them or push them while crossing through the pedestrian zones.

The policy even has its own name – “Cyclistes, pied-à-terre”, which means “Cyclists, (your) feet on the ground” and it’s quite self-explanatory. However, what’s not so clear to everyone involved is why it was necessary to implement this in the first place and if that wouldn’t harm the popularization of micromobility as a sustainable alternative to motorized transport.

The move has inspired both support and criticism

The reason for the new measure was motivated by the fact that although, by law, cyclists and scooter riders were required to ride their vehicles at a “walking pace”, it quickly turned out that this was wishful thinking. The rule was constantly violated leading to chaos in the pedestrian zones and raising the possibility of incidents.

What’s more, the proliferation of cycling couriers and delivery employees has crowded what was initially meant to be more pacified zones free of traffic.

The new rules stipulate that cyclists and other soft mobility riders cannot ride their vehicles between 10 am and 11 pm in the permanent pedestrian areas. The same applies to Saturdays (11 am – 7 pm) in the temporary pedestrian zones.

The sanctioning of offenders will get progressively tougher. Until the end of this month, municipal police will be involved in spreading the word of the new rule in an educational manner. Next month, there will be verbal warnings. Afterwards, there will be fines.

Opponents of the new policy say would have preferred targeting “a few specific locations” and “peak times” instead of “so drastically limiting the circulation of mobility” without offering “any alternative development,” according to 20Minutes.

The authorities answered that as a way of supporting cyclists, they had already built more than 150 kilometres of dedicated cycling paths in the city, but that they also need to guarantee safety and coexistence in the pedestrian areas.



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