Italians can get up to €500 in subsidies to buy a new bicycle or e-scooter
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Italians can get up to €500 in subsidies to buy a new bicycle or e-scooter

Credit: Belga

Citizens of Italian cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants can get up to €500 in subsidies for buying a bicycle or an e-scooter, Italy’s Transport Minister Paola De Micheli announced on Monday.

The measure is part of a €55 billion support package for the Italian economy and aims to keep people from using their cars and public transport as the country recovers from the crisis surrounding the new coronavirus (Covid-19).

Fewer people will be able to take public transport because of social distancing regulations, De Micheli pointed out at a press conference with Foreign Press Association journalists.

The government is also looking into changing traffic laws to enable local authorities to create cycling paths more easily, De Micheli added. City representatives of the country’s capital, Rome, announced on Monday that it would create 150 kilometres of new cycling paths by September.

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Belgium is also moving to promote cycling. In late April, Brussels’ mobility minister announced that 40 kilometres of new cycling paths would be rolled out. 

Last week, the first steps were taken to turn the area within Brussels’ inner ring into a zone where pedestrians and cyclists have priority over cars, and it was announced this week that the city would invest in 3,000 additional bicycle parking racks.

Belgium also has a favourable tax regime when it comes to cycling. Employees who cycle to work can be compensated up to €0.24 per kilometre. They can also use a company bicycle, and bicycle costs necessary for work can be deducted by up to 120% according to Voka, Flanders’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Jason Spinks
The Brussels Times