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Not Just Bikes


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Geography, Engineering

Resource Type

  • Videos, 13 minutes, CC, Subtitles

Regional Focus



YouTube Video

How to (Quickly) Build a Cycling City - Paris

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  • This video shows how a campaign promise to eliminate 70,000 parking spaces in Paris prompted the mayor to transform they city's bicycle infrastructure. 
  • Students will learn that Paris purposefully changed its infrastructure very rapidly, which has had a positive effect on the city's traffic and air pollution problems. 
Teaching Tips


  • The video contains labeled chapters or segments that make it easy to jump to a specific part of the video.
  • The video does a good job of presenting a balanced view of how Paris' fast transformation into a cycling city has been successful, and how the city still has room for improvement.

Additional Prerequisites

  • This video begins with an advertisement.
  • The video mentions some of Paris' more famous roads and streets, but students who have no familiarity with the city might need some background information to understand the size and scale of Paris.
  • The video does not directly address the environmental effects of reducing motor vehicles in Paris.


  • Social studies and civics classes could research how Mayor Anne Hidalgo's campaign promises led to her election and the implementation of traffic reforms within the city.
  • Science classes could use this SubjectToClimate lesson plan to help students understand the environmental impact of different modes of transportation.
  • Design classes could watch this Not Just Bikes video about urban planning in Amsterdam and use it to compare and contrast the ways that Paris and Amsterdam are building better cycling infrastructure.
  • Other resources on this topic include this lesson on green transportation and this Vox video on congestion pricing in high traffic zones.
Scientist Notes
This video highlights how cycling is growing gradually and replacing cars in Paris. A major key player is the government's will to make this happen. Reducing car transportation in turn draws down CO2 levels and makes the environment healthy and free from air pollution and traffic congestion. This resource is suitable and recommended for teaching.
  • English Language Arts
    • Speaking & Listening (K-12)
      • 11-12.SL.3 Evaluate a speaker's point of view, perspective, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points of emphasis, and tone used.
  • Science
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • 8.ESS3.4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth’s systems.
  • Social Sciences
    • Geography (K-12)
      • HS.40 Use geographic data to analyze the interconnectedness of physical and human regional systems (such as a river valley and culture, water rights/use in regions, choice/impact of settlement locations) and their interconnectedness to global communities.
    • Social Science Analysis (K-12)
      • 6.27 Assess individual and collective capacities to take action to address local and regional issues, taking into account a range of possible levers of power, strategies, and potential outcomes.
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