Thousands of motorcyclists protest at the lack of parking spaces in central Paris.
With more than 150,000 motorcyclists riding across the heart of the French capital every day, bikers expect the local authorities to provide sufficient and adequate parking facilities to meet the ever increasing demand. Unfortunately, there is a serious lack of motorcycle parking bays and spaces in Paris meaning that more and more bikers have no alternative other than park on pavements, especially during rush hour on a busy working day. Unless you leave home early enough in the morning to find a space within walking distance to your final destination, you either find yourself riding around for a good 20 minutes to finally find a space or park on the pavement hoping that you won't get a nasty ticket even if your bike doesn't obstruct the pedestrian path.
Some time ago, we published a post in which we explained that 2,500 on street car parking spaces in Paris were being converted into free motorcycle spaces to meet increased demand. We also compared this wonderful initiative with that of the central London council of Westminster who decided to charge for motorcycle parking in an attempt to decrease demand for a mode of transport that reduces congestion and pollution and also offers an affordable transport solution for those in financial difficulties. Today, whilst Westminster Council continues to charge bikers for parking, resulting in many parking bays being constantly empty or severely under utilised, the number of bikers in Paris keep rising and no more parking spaces/facilities are being offered to them. Unlike London, Paris does not operate a congestion charge (and has no intention of doing so), so the city is extremely congested and one would hope that the local authorities would encourage the use of motorcycles to reduce congestion by providing enough parking spaces for all.
Thousands of bikers gathered in central Paris last Saturday (1st February 2014) to protest at the lack of parking spaces and demanded a thorough review of the existing parking arrangements for motorcycles. The demonstration was organised by the most respected and powerful "Fédération Française des Motards en Colère" (The French Federation of Angry Bikers) - also known as FFMC - just one month ahead of the mayor elections to make all candidates realise that they must consider motorcycle parking as a top priority in their agenda or else face the consequences and inconvenience of repetitive demonstrations that could cause traffic chaos in the French capital.
"We want more parking spaces and will carry on protesting until we obtain what we want. Motorcycling should be encouraged rather than restrained, as our mode of transport is the solution to congestion problems in large cities such as Paris. The FFMC has made proposals to the local authorities on how to increase the number of parking spaces by maximising space utilisation and using areas on the pavement that do not obstruct pedestrians in any way. All they have to do is listen to us and we will stop our protests", said Pierre, an angry biker who commutes from outside Paris on his 1,200cc motorbike every day.
We now leave you with a few videos of the protest that will give you an idea of its magnitude. This is one of many protests to come if the local authorities continue to behave like "we can't see you, we can't hear you".
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ If you're based in France and want to take part in the fight against the Government's continued policy to ban motorcyclists from filtering through traffic, then contact the Fédération Française des Motards en Colère (FFMC - French Federation of Angry Bikers).