Paris votes to impose higher parking fees on SUVs

Paris will follow Lyon’s lead by introducing a sliding scale of parking fees based on a vehicle’s weight - meaning that parking for SUVs will become more expensive than for smaller cars.

Paris votes to impose higher parking fees on SUVs
Cars parked near the Place de la Concorde in Paris. AFP PHOTO ANA AREVALO (Photo by ANA AREVALO / AFP)

The city council has voted in favour of the “progressive pricing of parking according to the duration, the motorisation, the size and the weight of the cars.”

The south-eastern city of Lyon adopted a similar weight-related parking fees policy in May, which is set to come into force in January 2024.

The voted text in Paris undertakes to “put in place on January 1st, 2024, a progressive pricing of parking according to duration, motorisation, size and weight of the cars”.

No details are yet available on the exact fees or the weight scales that will be used.

The council voted unanimously in favour of the motion first proposed by the Green party, with councillor Frédéric Badina-Serpette, clarifying that the aim was “to focus on an absurdity: auto-besity … the inexorable growth in the weight and size of vehicles circulating in our cities, and particularly in Paris”.

Officials say the number of SUVs in the city has increased by 60 percent over the last four years and they now make up 15 percent of the 1.15 million private vehicles parked in Paris every evening.

David Belliard, deputy mayor responsible for public space and mobility policy, said SUVs were incongruous in an urban environment; “There are no dirt paths, no mountain roads, SUVs are absolutely useless in Paris. Worse, they are dangerous, cumbersome and use too many resources to manufacture.”

The adopted proposals, however, do contain a recommendation for a “solidarity tariff for families on the lowest incomes as well as for large families”. 

Environmentalists on the council welcomed the move, pointing to the increasing size of vehicles – between 1960 and 2017, the weight of vehicles increased by 62 percent

Larger vehicles, including SUVs, use more fuel and emit more fine particles, while a study by insurer Axa found that large 4x4s are involved in 25 percent more accidents than any other type of vehicle.

Another study reports that pedestrians are twice as likely to be killed in a collision with an SUV compared to a sedan.

In Lyon, the council has decided that, from next year, residential rates will range from €15 to €45 per month, based on the weight of their vehicle as opposed to the current €20 per month flat-fee for an on-street parking permit.

Under pending rules in the south-eastern city, owners of an internal combustion car that weighs less than one tonne, or an electric car weighing less than 2.2 tonnes, will pay €15; for an internal combustion car weighing more than 1.725 tonnes, a plug-in hybrid weighing more than 1.9 tonnes or an electric car weighing more than 2.2 tonnes the price will be €45. 

For vehicles in the middle range for weight, the monthly price for permits will be €30.

France already imposes a weight surcharge on vehicle purchases of large cars such as SUVs. 

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What are the rules for electric bikes in France?

E-bicycles have some special rules compared to their non-electric counterparts. Here's what you need to know for riding an electric bicycle in France.

What are the rules for electric bikes in France?

There’s no doubt that cycling is a great and environmentally friendly way to get around towns and cities across France, especially with the proliferation of dedicated cycle lanes following the pandemic.

And, these days, electric bicycles are an increasingly common sight on the country’s highways, byways, and greenways, as people change their short-distance commuting habits in more eco-friendly ways.

But there are rules about owning and using an electric bicycle in France.

READ ALSO Paris rolls out new ‘street code’ to help cyclists, cars and pedestrians share the roads

The most common are EU-wide, and relate to the power of the battery – but there are also age limits.

No one under the age of 14 is allowed to be in control of an electric bicycle on public roads in France. There are no such age-limits in force for off-road cycling, or for riding around on private land.

Most countries across the EU adopt a similar minimum age – while Switzerland and Belgium have set a lower age-limit of 16.

In most European countries and areas, to be considered cycles or pedal-assisted bicycles, electric bikes must comply with the requirements of the European directive 2002/24/EC.

  • The engine at rotation speed must not exceed 0.25kW(250W);
  • The assistance of the electric motor must be functional only until reaching 25 km/h;
  • Pedal assistance must only be triggered if the cyclist is pedalling and must automatically cut off when pedalling stops.

Higher power-assisted cycles that can travel up to 45km/h are considered to be the same as electric mopeds, meaning the rider must have a licence, insurance, and wear suitable protective clothing, including a helmet and gloves, while using the vehicle on the road.

READ ALSO How close is Paris to its goal of being a 100% cycle-friendly city?

Anyone caught on French roads using a modified electric bicycle that can travel at higher speeds could face a fine of up to €30,000.

Other rules

As with traditional bicycles sold in France, electric bicycles must be assembled and adjusted before they can be purchased. Certain adjustments can be left to the buyer, such as fitting wheels, inflating tyres, etc;

They must be equipped with front and rear lights and reflectors at the front, rear and side, as well as an audible warning device;

Bicycles must have two independent braking systems, each acting on a different wheel (the back-pedalling braking system, blocking the movement of the rear wheel if necessary, used alone, does not comply with the decree);

READ ALSO What are France’s rules for bringing bikes on the train?

And, since January 2021, all bicycles sold must be marked with an identification number on the frame at first sale. Dealers must collect the purchaser’s contact details to register them in the unique national file of identified cycles. This identification number must also be printed on the invoice. 

The new owner then receives an e-mail with a login and password to connect to his personal space. They can then change their contact details and the status of their bike (in service, stolen, lost or sold on). 

Similar to traditional bicycles, electric bicycles are able to ride within dedicated cycle paths and lanes.

Cycle helmets

In France, cyclists aged under 12 are required by law to wear a cycle helmet. Because of the age restrictions, therefore, a helmet is not required for anyone riding an electric bicycle on the road in France.

It is, however, recommended that older cyclists wear one. Helmets sold in France must have a CE mark, showing they conform to EU regulations.

READ MORE: Reader Question: What should I do if my bicycle is stolen in France?