Riding a bike in Marseille

Bike path on Boulevard Michelet
Marseille is clearly not a bicycle friendly city. There are very few bike lanes, and people are more prone to using their car, even for errands within walking distance.

There are more bike lanes in the Southern part of the city, in the bourgeois residential areas and near the beaches, than in any other district, although the Corniche is still very much a car haven, with sidewalks used as parking spaces in the Summer.

It is no surprise you'll find most of the JCDecaux rental bike stations in the same areas. Which leads to the question: were these designed for the locals or for tourists?

Anyway it's possible to use them to commute to work. At one point or another though, the Marseille bicyclist will have to ride his/her bicycle on the street, into the traffic that is, among cars. Yes, that can be a scary perspective, more on that later.

There's a saying in Marseille that you have to use your car, meaning that public transportation are useless. It is true that many areas are badly served, and the subway used to shut down very early in the evening -- buses still do, so if you miss the last bus, you can either walk or take a cab (forget the rental bikes, it's no longer possible to rent a bike after 10 pm).
Near the Quartier des Antiquaires

Needless to say, bike parkings are non-existent, so the Marseille biker must use poles or whatever piece of street furniture comes his/her way.

Despite this gloomy depiction of bike riding in Marseille, it's still faster than the car, even than the bus which can be stuck in traffic jam as well as cars. And riding near the beaches or around the pinedes is always an exhilarating experience.