LOOKING BACK TO THE BEGINNINGS OF THE BIKE PLAN
In 2000, the establishment of a Bay of Somme bike plan responded to both a European approach in the framework of "EURO VELO" providing for the establishment of a 60,000 km network of bikeways, but also a national and regional commitment to the "National Scheme of Cycle Routes and Greenways."
The objective was to promote a coherent network of cycle routes and to develop an environmentally friendly tourism product. That is how, on 26 March 2001, the Departmental Council of the Somme transferred its jurisdiction over the "Construction and maintenance of cycling infrastructure" for the Picardy Coast to the Syndicat Mixte [public-private entity]. At that time, the department had already built 22 km of paths.
To date, following all the improvements made by the Syndicat Mixte, the Bay of Somme has and manages 45 km of bike paths in dedicated lanes (reserved for cycling use) and 130 km spread across 8 marked discovery loops on infrequently used roads or paths. The goal being to offer a comprehensive range for cycling to touring cyclists, and to develop the regional network, which allows everyone to discover the local heritage.
> History: Stages of its implementation
The bike plan's technical data
•Integration of the bike path into the landscape
•Concrete surface to provide a good compromise between recreational use for users and durability, maintenance
•Comfort with a path that is more or less 2.80 m wide, in a dedicated lane, separate from the motor vehicle lane.
•Wooden footbridges to cross bodies of water
•Police and tourist signs specially for the bike paths for the safety of users and adapted to the Bay of Somme's natural sites.
THE BIKE PLAN IN FIGURES
Given the investment, the entire project could not be handled by a single financier. The development of a bikeway network is dependant on route studies being carried out, the filing of administrative documents (impact studies, water legislation dossier, etc. right-of-way appraisal) and the acquisition of the necessary rights of way.
The Bay of Somme Bike Plan is a long-term project benefiting from cross-funding from several partners in its various phases: the Department of the Somme, the Pas de Calais, the Picardy Region, the Interreg III and IV programme with the Seine Maritime, the SIVU of the Forges les Eaux/Dieppe Greenway, the English 'East Sussex, Kent". In this way, since 2000, the Bay of Somme Bike Plan will have cost €9.3 million before tax.
- 1,000 cycles/day along the marshes of the borough of Le Crotoy (1)
- 1,200 cycles/day in Quend-Plage (1)
- Example of the distribution of modes of transport: 55% bicycles versus 45% light duty vehicles in Saint-Quentin-en-Tourmont (2)
- 14 professional bicycle hire services (3)
- 27 accommodation providers offering services around the bike (3)
(1) Counting campaign for all modes of transport (light duty vehicles/heavy vehicles/bikes) on the North Bay - August 2010 - Bay of Somme Syndicat Mixte
(2) Pro Development Study, Indigo
(3) Somme Tourism
A NETWORK OF PROFESSIONALS
From 2001, the Syndicat Mixte and the "Somme Tourism" development and booking agency created the "Picardy Coast by Bike" network based on a charter of quality and aiming to promote the use and welcome of bikes on the coast.
The objective was to propose, across the region, in connection with the bike paths and discovery loops, a reception adapted to the practice and the specific needs of touring cyclists (infrastructure, adapted services). This reception is achieved through accommodation providers as well as tourism service providers, hire services, bicycle repairmen and the municipalities to ensure a complete reception for cyclists.
Eventually, the bicycle network could join the national "Accueil Vélo" initiative for greater clarity and consistency.
> Download the charter
BEHIND THE SCENES OF THE BIKE PLAN
Maintenance of the paths
The bike path department, consisting of agents from Syndicat Mixte, is responsible for the maintenance of infrastructures and their surroundings: network monitoring, marking, mowing, weeding, pruning, picking up rubbish and repairing directional signage.
The annual cost of maintaining the network funded by the Departmental Council is €150,000. This includes the cost of personnel and equipment assigned to the routine maintenance of the trail surfacing, its surroundings, fittings and signage.
It also includes sharing the costs for senior staff members connected with the department's organisation, consultations and placing outsourced work orders, meetings and drafting investment dossiers. A management plan was implemented in 2012, whose report is scheduled for the first half of 2013.
On all the cycle routes in the Bay of Somme, police and tourist signs have been set up taking into account the Bay of Somme’s natural environment. This signage makes it possible to view the routes in an overall manner (Bike information panels called RIS), to mark the discovery loops (signs represented by bird pictograms) and safely direct touring cyclists at the same time.
GET AROUND AND DISCOVER THE BAY OF SOMME IN A DIFFERENT WAY
Cycling has become, in a short period of time, the spearhead of ecomobility in the Bay of Somme making it possible to discover the region in a way other than by car. Many possibilities and combinations are now available to both visitors and residents to discover the natural areas in the Bay of Somme: bicycle, train, shuttles, hiking trails, etc.
You can mix train and bike to discover the Bay of Somme. The Bay of Somme railway, an old sea-bathing network that goes from Crotoy to Cayeux-sur-Mer, allows travellers (in possession of a valid ticket) to take their bikes on board for free. They are self-loaded into a car located at the end of the train. And for those who arrive by the SNCF train at the Noyelles or Rue station, they can find bikes for hire near the station as well as many other services.
> Ecomobility site at the Bay of Somme