On the push of the European Union’s demands, the town of Massarosa, just over 20,000 people in the province of Lucca, has decided to undertake an environmental and healthy initiative: a 25 cents per km reimbursement to all those who will use the bike to go to work. This compensation has a price ceiling of 50 euros per month for a total of 600 euros per year.
The project, called “Bike to Work“, is still in the experimental state. For the moment it will involve only 50 people for a year, chosen among the first that are going to apply. All participants will have an app for smartphones to use to track the routes and determine the amount of the refund. Funds to fund the project, about 30,000 euros, were found from the municipality among revenue from fines and penalties.
If the idea does work, the administration is ready to further develop the initiative, broadening it, in the coming years, to as many citizens as possible.
The idea of an economic incentive is not the only alternative for soliciting people to leave the car at home. Seville, for example, has aimed at safe and modern cycling routes.
In Spain it is estimated that only 1.6% of the population moved mainly by bicycle and in Seville the situation was not at all different: cycling was about 0.5%. The city has invested in the construction of 120 km of bike lanes and the change was impressive, not to the levels of Copenhagen or Amsterdam, but impactful for the capital of Andalusia.
The average number of bikes used every day has risen drastically from 6,000 to over 70,000, and the latest checks show that around 6% of daily trips to the city take place on a bicycle.
The result achieved by Sevilla has influenced the other Andalusian towns who, following its example, have decided to create protected lanes for the exclusive use of bicycles designed to encourage sustainable mobility.