France’s government increased the size of the subsidy it offers to people who trade in their gas-powered cars for electric bikes to as much as €4,000 (approx. $3,976) per person, according to The Times. The money is meant to incentivize people to ditch their polluting modes of transportation in favor of cleaner, more environmentally friendly alternatives.
People who live in low-income households in low-emission urban zones that trade in their cars are eligible for the full €4,000 subsidy to put toward the purchase of an e-bike. (Traditional, non-motorized bikes also qualify for the incentive.) French citizens from higher income brackets can claim smaller subsidies.
The subsidy, which was first introduced last year, was recently increased after officials determined that more needed to be done to catch up to bike-loving rivals like the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark. The French government has said it wants 9 percent of the country to switch to bicycles by 2024, compared with only 3 percent now. The Netherlands boasts a huge 27 percent in this area.
The policy is modeled on a hugely successful program in Lithuania, in which citizens qualify for a subsidy of up to €1,000 (nearly $994) for the purchase of a new electric bike, scooter, moped, motorcycle, or even public transportation credits, after exchanging their old vehicle.
But France isn’t just spending money on individual incentives. Emmanuel Macron’s government also said it would invest €250 million to make the city of Paris entirely bikeable. And the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, won reelection last year on a promise to add another 130 kilometers (over 80 miles) of bike-safe pathways over the next five years.
The news comes a week after US President Joe Biden signed a huge tax and climate bill into law that completely ignores the climate change fighting potential of e-bikes. The bill includes millions of dollars for EV tax credits but no money for e-bike incentives.