The symbol is far from banal, the Ministry of Economy and Finance welcomed 200 economic and institutional actors working for the development of the cyclical economy. At least five ministers came to support and claim this national ambition on the bike.
To try to fully understand politics and cycling, you have to go back a few years. We know that Emmanuel Macron-era governments have chained successive cycling plans. The first one was presented in September 2018 by the then Prime Minister Eduard Philip. Angers was the scene of these announcements. The allocated budget was 350 million euros spread over 7 years with the aim of tripling the modal share of cycling by 2024. Of course, the focus was on the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris.
Meanwhile, Covid has been there, slowing down the plan somewhat, but accelerating awareness of the relevance of cycling as a form of transport. It should be recalled that in May 2020, even when it was mandatory to wear a mask on the street, riding a bicycle was exempted from this. In other words, the bicycle was considered a barrier gesture at that time. The scorching summer and the energy crisis of the last few months have convinced our politicians: the bicycle really has a number of virtues that should be seized.
A full-fledged economy
France’s overall cycling economy generated €30 billion in economic benefits in 2019, including €7 billion in health benefits. With 2.8 million bicycles sold in 2021, the estimated turnover for the industrial and commercial sector is 3.4 billion in 2021, to which must be added 4.2 billion in direct benefits related to bicycle tourism.
Relocating the bicycle industry as well as encouraging future growth related to the development of cycling “Safe for all uses”, and therefore to firmly establish the bicycle in the political landscape, these first states are based on the 63 propositions of the report commissioned by Jean Castex of the deputy Guillaume Gouffier-Cha. This “Inventory of the economic sector of cycling in France” It was announced to the public in February 2022.
Ministries and ambitions
Therefore, five ministers spoke in turn on this topic. Roland Lescure, Representative of the Minister of Industry; Clément Beaune Minister of Transport Representative; Christophe Bechu, Minister of Ecological Transition and Territorial Unity; Amélie Oudéa-Castera Minister of Sport and Olympic and Paralympic Games; and Sarah El Hairy, Secretary of State for Youth.
Roland Lescure dreams of a 100% French-made, eco-designed bicycle that will last “famous” (read: financially viable). Clément Beaune is glad that the bicycle is no longer a joke in government discussions. He wishes for better multimodality and supports the creation of a professional cycling sector.
Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera reminds us of all the international sporting events coming to France – starting with the UCI Track Champions League at the Vélodrome National de Saint-Quentin en Yvelines from Friday 25 November 2022. He hopes that these events will be a source of inspiration for our compatriots. “It’s fun to drive! Dreams of Victory ». For her part, Sarah El Hairy proposes to facilitate the implementation of the Savoir Rouler à Vélo program and shows her ambition that all children know how to pedal outdoors before they reach college.
As for Christophe Bechu, he recalled that in September 2018, wearing his scarf as the mayor of Angers, he welcomed Edouard Philippe, who came to present the first Bicycle Plan. The Minister of Ecological Transition also emphasized that the envelope of the first bicycle plan was spent on various projects within four years (even if the goal of 12% bicycle modal share was postponed until 2030). He also recalled Elisabeth Borne’s announcement on September 20 of a new envelope of 250 million euros to increase the use of bicycles. The prime minister will also chair an inter-ministerial committee dedicated to this topic on December 2. Looks like the bike is definitely on the way.