France experiments with paying people to cycle to work

פורסם: 7 בפבר׳ 2015, 9:01 על ידי: Sustainability Org   [ עודכן 7 בפבר׳ 2015, 9:18 ]
Geert De Clercq, 2/6/2014,

PARIS (Reuters) - France has started a six-month experiment with paying people to cycle to work, joining other European governments in trying to boost bicycle use to boost people's health, reduce air pollution and cut fossile fuel consumption.

Several countries including the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Britain have bike-to-work schemes, with different kinds of incentives such as tax breaks, payments per kilometre and financial support for buying bicycles.

In France, some 20 companies and institutions employing a total of 10,000 people have signed up to pay their staff 25 euro cents (34 U.S. cents) per kilometre biked to work, the transport ministry said in a statement on Monday.

French Transport Minister Frederic Cuvillier, noting that commuting using public transport and cars is already subsidised, said that if results of the test are promising, a second experiment on a larger scale will be done.

The ministry hopes that the bike-to-work incentive scheme will boost bike use for commuting by 50 percent from 2.4 percent of all work-home journeys, or about 800 million km, with an average distance of 3.5 km per journey.

In Belgium, where a tax-free bike incentive scheme has been in place for more than five years, about 8 percent of all commutes are on bicycles. In the flat and bicycle-friendly Netherlands, it is about 25 percent, cycling organisations say.

The Brussels-based European Cyclists' Federation has European Union funding to study best practices among various cycling incentive schemes, the group's Bike2Work project manager Randy Rzewnicki said.

City bike-loan schemes have played a large role in boosting bicycle commuting and cities including Barcelona, London and Stockholm have followed the model of the Velib in Paris.

($1 = 0.7328 euros)

(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Louise Ireland)


Focus on Frédéric Cuvillier’s “cycling plan”

Focus on Frédéric Cuvillier’s “cycling plan”
On 5th March, the French Minister for Transport, Frédéric Cuvillier, unveiled the twenty-five measures of his “active mobility action plan.”

Six focuses of the a plan

This plan results from the discussions of an interministerial working group dedicated to promoting active means of mobility. Set up in June 2013, the group brought together politicians, local elected officials, users, bike manufacturers and representatives from the Ministries concerned.

Their work was organised into six areas:

● Promoting intermodality between public transport and “active” mobility (a term used to refer to forms of mobility that use muscular strength such as cycling and walking);

● Better sharing of public space and improving user safety;

● Putting in place financial incentives to use bikes;

● Taking bikes into account in urban planning and development;

● Developing leisure and tourism routes;

● Communicating the benefits of walking and cycling.

A key measure: kilometric allowance

The measure generating the most press is incontestably the implementation of a kilometric allowance for employees who cycle to work.

The majority of companies reimburse their employees’ fuel bills and/or cover part of their transport expenses. But until now, nothing was being done for cyclists. The action plan proposes that employers compensate cyclists at a rate of 25 centimes per kilometre in exchange for tax exemptions.

A similar measure has been in place in Belgium since 1997. Set at 21 centimes per kilometre, in 2013, it enabled 190,000 employees to benefit from €46m (£38m) in allowances.

The three benefits of cycling

The Minister for Transport insists on the “triple benefit” that active mobility offers. The emphasis is on health, the environment and also the economy.

As for the associations, a certain level of satisfaction is justified. “We’re happy with the initial progress”, said Genevière Laferrère from the French Bicycle Users Federation.