Bicycles overtake cars in Paris

Paris embraces the bicycle

Stock image of a city cyclist. Credit: Ground Picture/

Could Paris be turning a corner in urban mobility and sustainability?

Recent data suggests a significant shift in the transportation preferences of Parisians. In April, a regional mobility survey highlighted a notable change in the French capital.

For the first time, bicycles have surpassed private cars as the preferred means of transportation within the city. This transformation reflects a growing trend towards sustainable urban travel.

Bicycle boom in Paris

The survey indicates that bicycles are now the primary mode of transport in Paris, with an estimated 30 per cent of all trips in the Ile-de-France region made on two wheels.

‘Parisians use bicycles more than cars,’ the survey reports, underscoring the shift towards eco-friendlier commuting options.

Meanwhile, the private car continues to dominate in the outer areas of the Paris region, where public transport options are less accessible and lifestyles demand more flexibility.

Commuting patterns and preferences

The survey also shed light on broader transport trends. On average, residents of the Paris area spend 92 minutes commuting on weekdays, with the time decreasing to 67 minutes on Saturdays and 49 minutes on Sundays.

The average commute to work takes 38 minutes, reflecting the significant role of employment in shaping travel habits.

For leisure activities like shopping or entertainment, walking is the preferred choice for those living in Paris’s city centre, with women making up 55 per cent of pedestrian traffic.

Insights from advanced mobility tracking

Data for this comprehensive study was gathered using GPS from over 3,000 volunteers between 2022 and 2023.

Participants carried tracking devices that recorded their movements every two seconds for a week, ensuring detailed and accurate mobility patterns while maintaining anonymity.

The Paris Region Institute, responsible for the survey, emphasised the necessity of such data to enhance transport policies.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.