In light of the global COVID-19 pandemic, France has decided to encourage cycling inorder to help the environment.
In today’s coronavirus pandemic, many places in the world are in a lockdown. Countries are trying different ways to get out of the lockdown and move the economy. Countries also have to balance the impact on health and the environment. France has announced to ease the lockdown from 11th May. Slowly and gradually the schools, other shops, and markets will reopen. France’s government is planning to encourage people to cycle more after the lockdown. This will help keep the pollution level down and people safe. The government has planned a $22 million scheme for bicycles. The government will pay up to $55 for repairs and also pay for cycling training and parking spaces.
It hopes that for short distances, people will use bicycles rather than driving. In the capital city, Paris wearing face masks will be compulsory. Private cars are banned from the famous street of the Louvre where the painting of Mona Lisa is kept.
France was already planning to have special lanes and parking slots for the bicycles by 2024. This idea has now been accelerated. Every year about 48,000 people in France die because of air pollution. But the level of pollution has reduced a lot since lockdown. Karine Leger, head of the Airparif agency which monitors air quality in the Paris region said, “We are really witnessing an improvement in air quality, including pollutants responsible for global warming such as carbon dioxide.”In cities all over the world, it is estimated that levels of harmful particles have dropped by up to 60% from the previous year.
WHO too recommends riding a bicycle or walking after the lockdown as it helps in physical distancing. All over the world, public transport is starting to move again, but new methods are being followed to ensure passenger safety. In Germany, the lockdown has already been lifted. There it is now mandatory to wear facemasks while
traveling in public transport. In Europe, Milan and Brussels are increasing the number of cycle lanes as an alternative to public transport.