Walking, skating, biking and rollerblading: a soft urban mobility

Faster than public and motorized modes of transport, which are regularly blocked in the middle of saturated roads, soft mobility is gradually taking hold in the urban landscape.

Walking, skateboarding, cycling, scootering and rollerblading are becoming the new alternatives to the private car. In addition to the expenses that this type of vehicle represents, it also emits greenhouse gases. At present, the trend is towards environmentally friendly developments. Soft mobility is not only more ecological, but also faster. These new modes of transportation are therefore a natural part of a sustainable approach. These modes of travel encourage large cities to develop larger pedestrian spaces and bicycle paths. When we think about the existing solutions for urban mobility, soft mobility has great advantages. It is silent, environmentally friendly and physical, and offers a better quality of life.

Zoom on these new mobilities: personal mobility devices.

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Soft mobility and sustainable mobility, is there a difference?

It is difficult to distinguish between soft mobility and sustainable mobility, two concepts that are fundamentally linked. The first encompasses the plurality of non-motorized modes of locomotion such as walking, skateboarding, cycling, rollerblading and scootering. In other words, all environmentally friendly travel. The latter, which is particularly highlighted today, has many advantages. Indeed, these new modes of transport reduce carbon emissions, noise pollution, make traffic flow more smoothly and increase physical activity, and consequently preserve everyone's health.

The concept of sustainability, whatever the subject, reveals an understanding of the environment. In the context of urban mobility, considering it as sustainable means carrying out planning works in this sense. In addition, it is necessary to propose infrastructures, modes of transport and solutions that encourage the use of environmentally friendly means of locomotion.

The different means of travel soft mobility


Too often forgotten when it comes to identifying different modes of travel, walking is an excellent way to get around. The World Health Organization (WHO) stresses the importance of taking 10,000 steps per day. This way, fitness and health are better preserved.

However, it should be said that walking is limited to short trips, or in the opposite case, that it takes time. However, favoring this natural mode of locomotion to go to local shops or when weather conditions and distance permit is synonymous with healthy and free travel. In France, a quarter of all trips on foot are less than one kilometer long, or about 15 minutes.

Man is naturally designed to move. Sedentary life is therefore recognized as being negative for health. People who spend more than 6 hours a day sitting reduce their life expectancy and are at risk of cancer.


Adapted to short distances, skateboarding has many advantages. First of all, it can be practiced on sidewalks, but also on bike paths. Thus, it guarantees a certain safety to its users. Indeed, the sidewalk is not only reserved for pedestrians, all non-motorized personal movement devices such as skateboards, rollerblades or scooters are allowed to circulate on it. Secondly, it solicits the whole body and thus contributes to maintain a good physical condition. Finally, it represents perfectly the concept of soft and sustainable mobility.

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The bicycle

Available for self-service in many cities, and under different names, the bicycle represents a soft, sustainable and healthy means of transportation.

Faced with the development of this system and the enthusiasm of the French for it, the urban landscape is changing. In fact, and in order to guarantee the safety of the population, multiple bicycle paths are being created.

In Paris as in Marseille, self-service bicycles appeared in 2007. It should be noted that in the city of Marseille, the annual subscription is only 5 €. This encourages residents to take advantage of this economical and ecological service. In Bordeaux, this system of bicycles at disposal appears in 2010. It is called VCub and has 186 self-service bicycle stations. Other cities, such as Lyon (Vélo'v), Montpellier (Vélomagg") and many others, also offer this possibility. It is in La Rochelle, in 1976, that this self-service bicycle system was born in France.

Moreover, encouraging people to travel by bicycle is good for your health, limits carbon emissions and facilitates travel when the roads used by buses and motor vehicles are congested.


Sometimes described as outdated, rollerblading is actually a very practical and inexpensive mode of transportation. It is the perfect alliance between soft mobility, time saving and regular physical activity.

Like skateboarding, rollerblading is allowed on sidewalks and bike paths. Thus, it offers conditions of displacement free of any risk of collision with a motorized vehicle, not without danger. It is nevertheless recommended to wear a helmet, elbow pads, knee pads and wrist guards.

However, it is advisable to have certain skills in this area and not to forget to bring a bag containing a pair of shoes.

The scooter

Practical, light and fast, the folding scooter has been part of the urban landscape for many years. Today, it is quite natural that this one is declined in various electric models, in order to revitalize the soft and autonomous mobility of the city-dwellers.

Ideal for short and medium trips, the scooter is also an alternative to public or individual motorized transport. However, unlike conventional scooters, electric models cannot be used on sidewalks.

Electric scooters are heavy and expensive. It may therefore be wise to take advantage of self-service vehicles. However, taking advantage of this system represents a certain cost when it is used frequently. For occasional trips, this alternative remains fundamentally interesting. There is no need to invest in a personal vehicle or to suffer from its main drawback: its weight.

In conclusion, soft mobility fits perfectly into the current context which tends to limit greenhouse gas emissions, preserve the environment and reduce social inequalities. Accessible and sustainable, the multiple modes of travel known as soft mobility offer a real alternative to motorized vehicles. With the development of the latter and the evolution of awareness, the entire urban landscape is being transformed. Finally, promoting walking, skateboarding, cycling, rollerblading or scootering is a response to the urgent need to reduce the stress and noise pollution associated with transport in the city.

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