French drivers can receive up to €4,000 from the government if they trade in their car for a bike as part of an effort to reduce carbon emissions. The scheme, known as 'Le Plan vélo,' was first introduced in 2018 with a smaller incentive of €2,500. In order to qualify for the full €4,000, drivers must have low incomes and live in low-emission urban zones. A recent study found that if the entire world pedaled bikes as much as the Dutch do, global carbon emissions would fall by about 700 million tonnes per year. France is not the only country to offer a bonus for people who trade-in their old vehicles - Finland and Lithuania also have similar programs.
French cycling commuters riding alongside traffic in Paris, France.
The French government is offering incentives of up to 4,000 Euros for people who are willing to swap their cars for electric bicycles. This is part of a push to make the city more walkable and prioritize the mobility of people over cars. The subsidy applies to both standard bicycles and electric bicycles. 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.)
Paris is cracking down on cars in an effort to promote more environmentally friendly transportation options. Recently, the city implemented a number of new rules and regulations limiting access to cars in the city center. French citizens from higher income brackets can claim smaller subsidies. Under the scheme, people who swap a polluting motor vehicle for a bike, e-bike or cargo bike will be eligible for a 'conversion bonus'.
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 government is hoping to increase the number of people making daily trips on bikes from its current level of 3% to 9% by 2024. The scheme is designed to increase active mobility and reduce carbon emissions.
The French government recently increased its subsidy for electric bicycles in an effort to encourage more people to switch to biking. The subsidy, which was first introduced last year, was raised 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 aim is to reduce congestion and emissions in the city. Not everyone is eligible for the full 4,000 Euro incentive – it depends on income level. However, all residents are eligible for a subsidy of up to 400 Euros for an e-bike if they use it for daily mobility purposes.
The French government is offering a subsidy of up to €1,000 for the purchase of a new electric bike, scooter, moped, motorcycle, or even public transportation credits after exchanging their old vehicle. The policy is modeled on a successful program in Lithuania, in which citizens qualify for a subsidy of up to €1,000 for the purchase of a new electric bike, scooter, moped, motorcycle, or even public transportation credits after exchanging their old vehicle. The UK also offers the Cycle to Work scheme, which allows employees to save on the cost of a new bike.
In the US, cycling seems to have actively been neglected, with the French government's move coming just weeks after the US government omitted cycling from its Inflation Reduction Act 2022. A spokesperson for campaign group PeopleForBikes said, "The climate- and energy-focused Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 misses a massive opportunity by neglecting to invest in an electric bicycle tax credit and other critical initiatives to promote biking for transportation."