italy bike riding stimulus
Italy funds recovery by bike

In some positive virus-related news for Italy, residents who buy a new bicycle can get up to 500 euros from government as part of a 55-billion-euro stimulus package for Italy's virus-stricken economy.

Transport Minister Paola De Micheli announced earlier this month that the government will offer 70-per-cent subsidy, capped at 500 euros ($834 AUD), for residents who buy a new bicycle.

But it's not only for bikes and e-bikes, this also covers electric scooters as well as subscriptions to bike and scooter sharing services.

The subsidy will be limited to residents of larger cities with at least 50,000 inhabitants, and is aimed at supporting sustainable transport and social distancing in the post-lockdown phase.

This is an issue that governments right around the world are currently facing, as social-distancing requirements will allow far fewer people to take buses and trains once everyone starts going back to work.

In France, a similar 20 million euro scheme will subsidise bike repairs for all residents of up to 50 euro at registered mechanics, as well as fund basic bike training and temporary bike parking.

French citizens won't receive any cash, but registered mechanics who perform services up to 50 euro free of charge will then be reimbursed by the state. Any additional costs out of their own pockets.

We've all heard about all the cities around the world who are creating new spaces for people to ride and walk—including Melbourne and Sydney most recently— but will the "build it and they will come" approach with bike lanes be enough? Probably not.

Bicycle Network has put together a six-month health and stimulus plan for federal, state and local governments of Australia that—like many other cities around the world have done—prioritises bike riding as a golden opportunity to stimulate the economy and minimise the spread of COVID-19. 

This six-month plan will provide employment and stimulate the economy through a combination of bike riding infrastructure projects, as well as investing in bike riding incentives including a paid ride-to-work scheme and tax rebates for new bicycles, plus programs that encourage and support children and less experienced bike riders.


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