Road safety – The great hypocrisy of Paris –

The great hypocrisy of Paris

Road safety - The great hypocrisy of Paris -

Paris continues to blow hot and cold vis-à-vis motorized two-wheelers with its Biker for a Day operation, its vague draft charter and its new parking lot, which do not, however, make us forget the harsh reality of unjustified fines..

While we can no longer count the number of motorized two-wheelers lined up lately for circulation in the bus lanes (open to taxis and bicycles) or non-obtrusive parking on the sidewalk (read), the City of Paris continues to blowing hot and cold in the helmet of the followers of the most pleasant, the most efficient and the least cumbersome way to get around town…

After its first edition two years ago (read), the 2004 "Motard d’un jour" operation finally saw Denis Baupin, deputy mayor in charge of transport, put his green seat in the back of a piloted 1800 Goldwing by a representative of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. Goal : "raise public awareness of driving motorized two-wheelers in town by inviting personalities to take their seats as passengers on a motorcycle in real traffic conditions". According to those around him, Deputy Green would have greatly appreciated the experience which allowed him to"discover Paris in a new light".

All hope is not lost, even if in the immediate future the situation remains particularly worrying for both individuals and professionals: parking without hindrance on the sidewalk or reasonable use of bus lanes continue to attract the wrath of the officers in charge. verbalization: "we have instructions !", they just repeat without questioning for a second the validity of their mission.

Main argument of the City of Paris, in collaboration with the Prefecture of Police: sidewalks belong to pedestrians and bus lanes to cyclists.

Moto-Net therefore went to stand in the bus lane on rue Reaumur, one of the favorite spots for enforcement officers, to ask the main stakeholders what they thought of motorcycles in the bus lanes. Surprise: even if this dive in the heart of Boboland has no scientific value, out of the fifteen cyclists who agreed to stop at the traffic lights to answer our questions, we are far from the general outcry. !

"No, actually that doesn’t bother me too much. Sometimes they go right in front of us at the fire, but I have never been brushed against or knocked off balance by a motorbike or a scooter", explains Nathalie, 40, who rides a bike"everyday".

Peter, 30, marketing manager, considers himself "already glad there are bus lanes for bicycles. And for two years that I’ve been cycling in Paris, I’ve never been endangered by a biker or a scooter".

"It depends", specifies Carole, 34, audiovisual technician:"Sometimes it happened to me to be brushed very closely by scooters, but in general no, the cohabitation goes well. I have been cycling in Paris every day for ten years, except when it rains really hard ".

"Yes bikers annoy me !", regrets Benoît, 37, librarian, who rides"every day for two years. I often get insulted because I don’t push myself fast enough for their liking, when they don’t have to be in the bus lanes !"

"Sometimes it’s awkward when they appear and stand in front of us, because their goal is to go as quickly as possible"notes Marc, 42, teacher."But on a bike, our balance is always very precarious and if we have to dodge too quickly, we fall !"

"Every day I’m embarrassed because they take the bus lanes and pass us"confirms Jean-François, 34, model maker, who rides a bike"every day for three years except when it rains. But it is mostly scooters and couriers, because they are always in a hurry the poor".

For Tamar, 26, an executive assistant who pedals "every day for the past two years, it is especially the buses that are annoying when they are behind. Bikers are fine, they don’t bother me, unless scooters pass too close and go too fast".

"Motorcycles are the thing that bothers me the most !"deplores Annette, 27, stylist while Antoine, 40, journalist at Release, estimate that "it is especially pedestrians who are dangerous because they encroach on the roadway and you have to be very careful. Motorcycles? No they don’t bother me at all".

"Obviously I feel in danger !"exclaims Estelle, 37, intermittent in the show who rides every day by bike."Bus lanes or not, it’s always the law of the strongest! I sometimes see guys on motorbikes who take the bus lanes thoroughly and who are not careful, but there is also a certain solidarity between two-wheelers, motorized or not: the other day, it is a biker who defended me against a motorist who almost hit me !"

For professionals like Doc Biker, the Parisian brand of fast walk-in service, the problem takes on a whole new dimension: nearly thirty PV collected in ten days because of the motorcycles in repair parked in front of his shop on the boulevard. Magenta !

Because the said boulevard – one of the last major arteries of the right bank that is still more or less moving – is undergoing a Delanoë-Baupin facelift. And as part of this redevelopment (one lane in each direction instead of 2×2 today), the police claim to have received instructions from the City of Paris aimed at "to clean the boulevard". And not by collecting dog droppings or litter: by removing motorcycles !

Ten years ago, when the motorcycle shop was still called Adhesion, there was no problem. Five years later, when Doc Biker moved in, parking the few motorcycles awaiting repair was not a problem either. Lionel Boyaval, the manager, nevertheless asks for an authorization which is officially refused on the grounds that the surface is insufficient. The wide sidewalk is in fact bordered by trees, which are counted to the regulatory width even though motorcycles, parked between the trees, do not encroach more on the pedestrian space….

Contacted by telephone, the road service of the City of Paris grants him oral tolerance, however, confirmed in writing by the mayor of the Xth arrondissement in person. In a letter dated January 12, 2001, which Moto-Net was able to take cognizance of, Tony Dreyfus in fact assures that he has "no objection"as to Doc Biker and that he"understands that parking motorcycles on the sidewalk in front of your establishment is essential for the smooth running of your business". He just emits"a certain number of reservations: motorcycles should be stored at an angle in order to interfere as little as possible with pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk, the parking of motorcycles in front of the store’s door should be avoided, and finally the map of Paris located nearby of the establishment must not be obscured by the parking of motorcycles at this location".

By respecting these reservations could not be more legitimate and stamped with the seal of simple common sense, which unfortunately seems devoid of the current municipal team, Lionel Boyaval thinks he is now quiet … But for a month, he has suffered three waves of contractual "with instructions"which lined him up for the ten machines parked in front of his store. In total, a good thirty fines addressed to customers but taken care of by Doc Biker…

"When they pass, they line up all motorcycles without distinction, individuals and professionals", explains Lionel."I called the 10th arrondissement police station, and I was told that they had instructions from the Town Hall to clean Boulevard Magenta as part of its redevelopment. They then suggested that I park them inside the store – when you see the space we have, you can imagine! -, in my cellar or in the motorcycle parking lot located 200 m away, which is always full and on which I could not watch my customers’ motorcycles … So what do I do, I close the shop ?"

Far from being a vindictive pissed off, Lionel Boyaval simply seeks to do his job in the best possible conditions. He therefore contacted his lawyer, while waiting for the hypothetical day when a brain a little less foggy than the others will take up the file at the Paris City Hall….


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