End of freedom for bikers in Paris

For years, drivers in Paris have complained about the city’s ever-increasing parking fees, while at the same time around half a million motorbike and moped owners have the freedom to park wherever they want for free.

This is no longer the case. From September 1, all motorcyclists in the French capital must pay up to 3 euros per hour for the city center and 2 euros for the outskirts. Residents can take advantage of an annual card for 22.50 euros, which means that the daily rate for them will be 75 cents.

According to the city administration, the measure is necessary to reduce pollution and end the chaos that results from the random parking of motorcycles and mopeds on the streets and sidewalks.

“It’s complete anarchy when it comes to parking. We also need to reduce disturbing noise levels as well as pollution,” said David Bejar, who is a member of the European Ecology – Greens party and is part of Mayor Anne’s executive team Hidalgo responsible for public spaces, transport and mobility.

The measure appears to be part of the fulfillment of some of the campaign promises of the socialist Hidalgo and was supposed to be introduced in January, but was postponed as the mayor is participating in the presidential elections in the spring.

Over the past few years, Hidalgo has made significant efforts to make Paris greener, including the construction of a network of new bike lanes and higher car taxes, fines for noisy vehicles, and a reduction in the maximum speed limit the city.

All this is an attempt to improve road safety, reduce noise damage, but also to direct Parisians to use greener transport options.

Such as electric scooters and motorbikes, which will be able to park around the city completely free of charge.

However, are motorcyclists satisfied with the measure? Not judging by their protest against the city government’s decision.

Jean-Marc Belotti, coordinator for the Paris region of the French Federation of Motorcyclists, described the measure as an additional tax and claimed it was “anti-social”, accusing the authorities of “hypocrisy”.

“It’s a real financial blow,” Bellotti was quoted as saying by the Guardian, adding that motorized two-wheeled vehicles are significantly more environmentally friendly than cars.

“They are much cleaner and more compact than a car and the public space is much better optimized. Fuel consumption is low and it takes you less time to cover the same distance,” Belotti believes.

His federation has brought a petition signed by more than 37,000 people to the town hall. One of them is Romain Lagrost, who lives 45 kilometers from the center of Paris, but works in the city and cannot afford an electric bike.

“I bought my motorbike for 8,000 euros. A new electric one is 20,000 euros,” complains Romain, who is not against paying for parking, but only on condition that it is reasonably priced, as a six-hour stay can reach up to 37 euros . “It’s only half the price of parking one car and you can fit four bikes in one parking space. It’s a steal!”

“It is true that the measure is controversial and many people are not satisfied,” Bejar said for his part. “But there are also many people who expect it. We will gradually exclude vehicles that take up space in public space, make noise and pollute.”

Once considered a significantly greener and more convenient option than cars, today motorbikes are also on the verge of being labeled as harmful to the environment amid Paris’ efforts to become a carbon-neutral city by 2050.

This only reflects the expectation that in the coming decades access to Europe’s major cities will be phased out for any vehicles with internal combustion engines.

The article is in bulgaria

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