Italy offers city dwellers up to €500 to buy a new bike

Italy offers city dwellers up to €500 to buy a new bike
Cyclists in central Milan. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP
Italy will pay people living in urban areas up to €500 towards a new bicycle as part of efforts to promote eco-friendly alternatives to public transport in the wake of the coronavirus.

People in towns and cities with 50,000 residents or more can claim back 60 percent of the cost of a new bike as part of a raft of stimulus measures aimed at 'relaunching' Italy as it seeks to exit the crisis.

The bonus, which is capped at €500, applies to electric bikes as well as scooters, Segways, hoverboards, monowheels and “shared mobility services for individual use” such as shared electric scooters, though not electric cars or car sharing.

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It will be available for vehicles bought between May 4th and December 31st 2020, and can only be claimed once.

At the moment, the bonus will be paid in the form of a reimbursement after purchase – so if you've just bought a new bike or are planning to imminently, make sure you keep hold of your receipt.

The government also plans to offer incentives to those scrapping cars and motorbikes this year and replacing them with sustainable vehicles or passes for public transport.


Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The scheme is part of a sweeping 'Relaunch Decree' announced on Wednesday night that also promises to extend cycle lanes and introduce new stop lines at traffic lights to allow cyclists to wait in front of motorists.

Milan has already announced plans to transform roads in its city centre, pledging to make some 35 kilometres more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians by adding bike lanes, widening pavements and lowering speed limits.

Rome too has said it will speed up plans to extend its bike paths, starting with an extra 25 kilometres of routes in residential areas outside the centre. 

READ ALSO: Rome 'among worst cities in Europe' for road safety, traffic and pollution

Italy's most ambitious cycling incentive to date comes from the city of Bari in Puglia, where the council has experimented with paying people 20 cents per kilometre they cycle to work or school

But overall Italian cities remain far behind many other towns in Europe for bike-friendliness, with Rome especially suffering from limited cycle lanes, heavy traffic and poorly maintained roads.

It's hoped that more people will take up cycling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as people are encouraged to avoid crowded, enclosed spaces like metros and buses.


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