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France to offer cycling subsidies in coronavirus aftermath

Date: 13-May-20
Author: Liam Taylor

With some of the most densely populated cities in Europe, including Paris, France hopes a transition to greater cycling will be relatively easy.

With some of the most densely populated cities in Europe, including Paris, France hopes a transition to greater cycling will be relatively easy.

The nation has outlined a twenty-million-euro scheme to encourage greater uptake of cycling and keep pollution levels low once coronavirus-related lockdown restrictions end.

Under the scheme, all French citizens will be eligible for bike repairs worth up to 50 euro at registered mechanics and funding will also be allocated to bicycle training and temporary bike racks for parking. The plan was announced in partnership with the French Federation of Bicycle Users, which aims to encourage greater uptake of cycling throughout France. 

According to BBC News, France’s Minister for Ecological Transition Elisabeth Borne said the move was aimed at reducing driving in a country where the average commute is less than five kilometres in length. This would enable authorities to keep air pollution levels down once the current coronavirus restrictions on mobility were lifted.

Local governments will also be encouraged to lay down or convert bike lanes in their jurisdictions across the country, with Paris already leading the way. The capital is barring private cars from the Rue de Rivoli, one of its busiest roads, and instead opening extra lanes for buses, taxis, emergency vehicles and certain deliveries. 

Cities around Europe have seen air pollution fall dramatically as residents have collectively retreated indoors under lockdown conditions and many are keen to maintain higher air quality as these restrictions are loosened. Milan has announced its own plan to transition towards greater cycling and pedestrian use, with Belgian capital Brussels and German capital Berlin introducing similar measures.

 

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Liam                                              Taylor
Author: Liam Taylor

Liam is Planet Ark's Communications Coordinator. Prior to joining Planet Ark Liam spent his time studying global environmental issues, travelling Southeast Asia on the cheap and working for a sustainable property management company in Bali, Indonesia.



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