France to offer everyone €50 to get on their bike post-lockdown in bid to change travel culture for good.
France is to pump €20m (£17m) into wooing citizens to get on their bikes to keep pollution levels down after lockdown is lifted starting on May 11. Under the scheme everyone will be eligible for bike repairs of up to €50 at registered mechanics. The funding will also help pay for cycle training and temporary parking spaces.
This may sound rather meagre but Paris has already allocated €300m for a network of cycle lanes, many of which will follow existing metro lines, to offer an alternative to public transport.
Paris’ Socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo this week insisted there was no way the French capital would return to its car-clogged past. Pollution levels have plummeted since nationwide confinement started on March 17.
She announced that one of Paris’ busiest roads, the Rue de Rivoli that runs past the town hall and Louvre museum, would be shut to cars during lockdown. One lane will be reserved for buses, taxis and emergency vehicles and certain deliveries “but not cars”. She said if it proved successful, it would stay that way to the fury of motorist groups.
Meanwhile in Italy, Milan has introduced one of Europe’s most ambitious cycling and walking schemes, with 22 miles of streets to be transformed over the summer. In Spain, Barcelona is adding 30,000 sq.m to its pedestrianised networks and 13 miles to the biking network.