Paris is Leading New Trends in Lane Usage and Helmet Safety

September 13, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I am finally ready to set sail. I've spent three days kicking around Paris. Now my bike is built, my bags are packed, and I have a route to start my adventure. First I have to get to the RER station across Paris. This is fine, because I've observed Parisian cyclists and traffic and I'm starting to understand it.

Paris has traffic lanes insofar as there are lines on the road. What those lines intend to signify, no one has stopped to ask. To be fair, more and more bike lanes are being built to support Paris' successful velibre bike-rental system. But neither the pedestrians nor the drivers seem concerned with what is a road, sidewalk, or lane. This might be a flaw in the bike lane system.

Also, Parisians often wear bike helmets, but I don't recognize the style. They only cover a band at the top of your head and your ears. I can't say that these would be too helpful in an accident in terms of brain-protection, but the ear protection is robust. Each ear is covered in a big foam element suspended by the band. Funny lookin' helmet, really.

Tomorrow I will take the commuter train to its furthest point from Paris. Then, I'll follow a bike path along the Seine. I will pass Monet's home, garden, and the land that inspired the impressionists. Hopefully the cue sheet that I found is accurate. Most of the land that I'll be covering is on the edge of a page of my atlas, mostly obscured by the legend.

After this post, I'm sure my posts will become less frequent. I won't have access to wifi as often as I do in Paris. Until then…