experiments with paying people to cycle to work
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[June 03, 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 fossil 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 kilometer 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 kilometer 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 subsidized, 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 organizations 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.
[to top of second column]
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)
(This story is refiled to correct spelling of fossil in first
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq; Editing by Louise Ireland)
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