This country is paying car drivers nearly $4,000 to switch to an electric bike

Ooh la la! France will now pay you €4,000 (nearly US $4,000) to swap your old polluting car for a cleaner, more efficient, and more city-appropriate electric bicycle. That marks a major increase in the incentive designed to improve French cities.

Pedal bicycles are also included in the generous incentive package, though e-bikes are contributing to one of the biggest jumps in cycling ever across Europe and much of the world.

As reported by The Times, the full €4,000 incentive is awarded to those in lower income brackets that live in low-emission urban zones. Wealthier two-wheel converts will receive a reduced incentive commensurate with their income level. For those looking to buy a new electric bike but not ready to give up their polluting car, a subsidy of up to €400 is available.

Some cities have even more generous electric bicycle subsidies. The Socialist-Green council of Paris offers up to €500 toward the purchase of an e-bike or a folding pedal bike.

France’s major e-bike incentive

France is working hard to push urban drivers out of cars and towards smaller and more environmentally responsible forms of transportation. In large cities like Paris, reduction in traffic from a switch to bicycles and scooters is perhaps just as important to many residents as the environmental effects.

We recently covered the case of an electric bicycle company that is switching from vans to cargo e-bikes to increase the number of electric bikes it could deliver each day. The company’s delivery vans were simply too slow in Paris traffic, and switching to cargo e-bikes will help ramp up deliveries by using smaller, quicker, and more efficient vehicles.

In a city like Paris, such e-bike deliveries are proving easier and easier. Mayor Anne Hidalgo has taken an aggressive approach to making the city friendlier to cyclists, pedestrians, and basically every form of alternative transportation.

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It’s a move that is becoming more common in cities around the world as residents demand more accessible urban planning.

The concept of walkable cities that are designed to prioritize the mobility of people over cars has led to calls for changes across much of Europe and the US. In many cases that means repurposing car lanes and on-street parking into dedicated lanes for public transportation or bike lanes, as well as expanding sidewalks and pedestrian streets.

Many cities are banning cars in downtown areas or introducing congestion pricing to disincentivize driving in the most crowded urban areas.

Europe has also taken a lead in government-sponsored incentives for commuters to switch to two-wheeled vehicle as a way to de-emphasize the roles of cars in cities. Some countries have begun offering tax incentives that essentially pay citizens to cycle to work instead of using a car.

Belgium recently made headlines when it increased its bike-to-work incentive to €0.25 per kilometer (approximately US $0.45 per mile), according to the Light Electric Vehicle Association.

But Belgium isn’t alone in offering cash in exchange for pedaling to work. The Netherlands offers nearly as much, and the UK offers even more. A mileage allowance of around USD $0.26 per mile is available to British cyclists who use their bikes to commute to work, according to the World Economic Forum.

The UK also offers a lease-to-own incentive program that rewards cyclists with discounted bikes and cycling gear.

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