Parisian skaters seek cycle status

ANY VISITOR to Paris will have noticed, if not physically encountered, the Rollerbladers. Whether swerving betweentourists on the Champs-Elysees, or jumping traffic lights, they are an odd mixture of pedestrian and vehicle.

They claim they are subject to verbal abuse whether they use the pavement or the road. And so along with the police and city officials they have written a white paper proposingchanges to the highway code.

At present, the Rollerbladers are legally considered to bepedestrians and should remain on the pavements or, if using the roads, travel facing oncoming traffic. However, as Paul Barre of Prevention Routiere explains: "This doesn't take into consideration the upsurge in Rollerbladers. It is urgent that new guidelines are laid down". The proposals give Rollerbladers the same status as cyclists. They would have to skate in single file, use cycle lanes and wear reflective clothing. The paper also suggests colour-coding streets according to the difficulty they present for rollerbladers.

With the colour scheme of green to blue to red to black, the boulevards of Paris might soon be mistaken for ski runs.

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