London and Paris mayors meet to discuss cycle safety

Boris Johnson swaps ideas with Bertrand Delanoë

by Simon_MacMichael   January 11, 2014  

19 Paris - separated cycle path and Velib' docking station (Photo credit- Copenhagenize Design Co)

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson and his counterpart in Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, have met to share ideas about improving road safety in their respective cities, as well as swapping ideas regarding cycle infrastructure.

Following the meeting, which took place last Thursday, it was agreed that London's cycling commissioner, Andrew Gilligan, would visit Paris in February to see first hand the measures being taken there to make conditions safer for cyclists.

It could be an illuminating trip. While under Mr Johnson, Transport for London (TfL) has sought to prioritise traffic flows, and also overturned the western extension of the congestion charge zone, across the Channel, his socialist counterpart in the French capital has taken space away from cars, including on the quais of the Seine.

Both men have introduced cycle hire schemes, but the earlier Velib' model in Paris differs substantially from London's Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme in the way it is financed, with advertising giant JC Decaux paying the start-up costs and operating the scheme in return for outdoor advertising rights.

In London, by contrast, Barclays' sponsorship of the scheme is set to end earlier than expected and the initiative has been described as a "financial black hole" for TfL.

The two mayors previously met in March last year, when their discussions centred around public transport as well as how to reduce pollution.

The example set by Paris, which places tight restrictions on the movement of lorries, especially at peak hours, is one that Mr Johnson has been urged to follow by British Cycling and other organisations.

One statistic that is regularly highlighted, including last November when six cyclists were killed in London within a two-week period, is that in Paris, no cyclists died in a road traffic collision in 2011.

Cycle campaigners in the UK, including British Cycling policy advisor, Chris Boardman, attribute that to the French capital's lorry ban.

However, the French authorities recognise that 2011 was an exceptional year, and say that  between two and six riders lose their lives in Paris annually, in an area that is around half that of Greater London.

Besides cycling, issues discussed at this week's meeting included electric car-sharing schemes, and how to strengthen cultural links between the two cities.

Mr. Johnson said: “London and Paris have enjoyed strong links throughout history and today are home to some of the most creative, diverse and enterprising people on the planet.

"It’s been fantastic to welcome Mayor Delanoë to City Hall to share ideas about how we cement the bond between Paris and London and bolster our reputations as two of the world’s best big cities.

"From the efforts that we’re making to become cleaner, greener places, to the challenges of running transport systems and improving cycling infrastructure, our two great capitals have much to learn from each other.”

Mr Delanoë, who has been mayor of Paris since 2001, commented: "I'm delighted that London and Paris - two very creative European capitals - are sharing their experience and savoir-faire.

"It's superb that our co-operation is enabling experts from our two cities to work together and discover a common dynamic," he added.

3 user comments

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I hate to be a party pooper, but taking Paris as an example isn't going to bring you guys very far. Up to some minor details, Paris has the exact same flaws as most European cities (outside most Dutch cities and a few other exceptions in Europe), including, obviously London.
On the death statistics thing, one has to realise that the area covered by the Ville de Paris is a tiny area of 100km2 (by comparison London inner borougs are in excess of 300km2). And (from memory) in that area, about 47% of trips are made… by walking. A bit over 10% by car, a mere 3% by bike, and the rest goes to public transport. So we're really not comparing anything comparable.
The sad reality is that Paris has all the flaws that plague London and most European cities. Just last Wednesday, a woman was killed on her velib on a junction by, guess what, a right-turning HGV: http://www.20minutes.fr/societe/1271351-20140108-cycliste-meurt-ecrasee-...
That happened on my commute. According to the news reports, it must have happened 5 minutes or so before I was there.
Will Boris Johnson also visit the Netherlands by any chance? He could bring the mayor of Paris too of course.

posted by enas [4 posts]
11th January 2014 - 23:13

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Delanoe has indeed done a lot in his time in office - I was living there when he started closing the voies sur berges, it was brilliant. (He's an interesting guy in many ways actually).

Curious to see what might come out of this that hasn't been suggested by people who actually cycle in London though...

Boardman CX Team '14 | Cannondale CAAD8 '12 (written off, SMIDSY) | Scott Sportster '08

Gizmo_'s picture

posted by Gizmo_ [814 posts]
13th January 2014 - 14:07

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Was Delanoe the fella that got stabbed at a party at the Town Hall?

*Edit* Yes he was, I could/should have just googled that first.

posted by farrell [1395 posts]
13th January 2014 - 14:16

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