Paris ups bike-friendly credentials

Hire scheme hailed a success and to be backed up by huge increase in bike lanes over next four years
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Despite some earlier setbacks for Paris' cycle hire scheme, the 'Velib' has been cited as a key driver for making the city bike-friendly, according to Moneycontrol.

80 million Velib rides took place in the first three years of the scheme with 160,000 Parisians on long-term subscriptions. A clever iPhone 'app' allows users to see how many bikes are available at the 1,800 'stations'.

Now Paris is planning to increase the size of its cycle path network by 435 miles before 2014, up from the current 273 miles.

So serious is the French capital about being bike friendly, cyclists are allowed to turn right at red lights – something London Mayor Boris Johnson has unsuccessfully lobbied for in London – and cyclsits can also ride in both directions on certain one-way streets.

Paris' cycle credentials were first boosted in the mid 90s following 'crippling' public transport strikes, forcing commuters onto two wheels. London's Tube strikes last year were thought to be a key driver behind more cyclists heading to the streets of the capital at the time.

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