We rode our bikes to an aperitif party at our friend Laurent Zylberman’s place in the suburb of Montreuil last weekend. A woman from the neighborhood walked in, addressed Laurent in French, and said something about how there was no one from the neighborhood at the party. Laurent introduced us as Americans living in the 11th, and she responded, “Oh, from the other side of the peripherique, I hate that,” and promptly turned her back to us.
My first bicycle commute of the semester was a real wake-up call. Crossing République on J.P. Timbaud, I was sideswiped by a motard who tried to pass me on the right – like, between me and the curb. My foot got caught on his moped and he propelled me for about 15 feet before I broke loose. He offered some words in French and then I mocked his Frenchiness. About 15 minutes later on Rivoli near the Louvre, a taxi tried to make a right-hand turn through the bike lane and his front right wheel made contact with my boot as I slid by. If either of those things would have happened to me in Texas, I would probably be dead or at least maimed. But for some reason, around here, it just sort of passes.
They are re-painting the bike lanes on Boulevard Magenta. I hope it is an effort to make them more obvious, because that scene is ridiculous.
There are also some newly painted-on-the-pavement signs in some of the bus/taxi lanes that have a bike with huge red “X” through them. Not cool.