Forty years ago, cycling was very popular in rural areas. What caused its decline?
The advent of the car and the increase in traffic on the roads. The bike also suffered from an image deficit. In the 1960s, it was considered the vehicle of the poor and immigrants. We preferred the Solex or the moped. At that time, France was the only country in Europe to have more motorized two-wheelers than bicycles.
Can he find a real place in the countryside?
Yes! But we will not be able to develop the practice only by increasing the number of cycle paths. This type of arrangement is of course useful. The number one priority, however, is to moderate car traffic, that is to say both reduce the number of cars and limit their speed.
Instead of continuing to transform national roads into four lanes or motorways, it would be in our interest to prohibit transit on small secondary roads in order to make them cycle-friendly. When, in the 1970s, the Dutch decided to create meeting spaces and 30 km/h zones to allow children to play outside without risking an accident, cycling benefited greatly.
Are residents ready to change their habits?
Of course, there will always be die-hard car addicts which, for many, still symbolize social success. However, the lines are gradually starting to move. Particularly thanks to neo-rural residents who experienced soft travel in their previous lives in the city and who import them to the countryside. Proof that the car is not the unsurpassable horizon of mobility.