France wants to pedal its way out of lockdown on two wheels

By Luis Miguel Pascual

Paris, May 3 (efe-epa).- The bicycle has become the ideal way of getting around in France as the country begins de-escalation of its coronavirus lockdown.

It allows people to travel without the risk of spreading infections, unburdens public transport, does not pollute the environment and is a good form of exercise after weeks of confinement.

French transport minister Élisabeth Borne said: “We want the bike to be the queen of the de-escalation.”

The government has presented a plan to promote cycling as a means of transportation from 11 May, when the country will begin to ease restrictions imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Around 60 per cent of trips made in the country during normal times were less than five kilometres, a distance that can easily be made on a bike, according to the transport department.

Pedalling has many advantages during the crisis compared to other forms of transport which force people to gather in closed spaces.

Oliver Schneider, president of the French Federation of Bicycle Users, told Efe it is difficult for people to contract or pass on the virus while cycling.

Using bikes also frees up space on public transport and helps reduce the number of cars on the roads, cutting the pollution they produce.

“There are studies showing that air pollution aggravates the effects of the coronavirus,” Schneider added.

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