What’s better than cycling to work? Cycling to work and getting paid for it.
At least, that’s the thinking of the French Government, which is trialling a scheme in which employees would be paid for each kilometre ridden to work. The payment would be set at 21 to 25 centimes. At current rates, that means someone with a 10-mile round-trip would be paid around £750 for a year’s commuting.
The plan is part of a package of ‘carrots and sticks’ to get more French commuters on bikes. Among the carrots will be better provision for bikes on trains, legalising cycling through red lights in certain circumstances, more cycle contraflows on one-way streets, and large new bike parking areas; while the sticks will include quadrupling the fine for parking in a bike lane.
Although the plan is being put forward by the Socialist Government, there’s widespread support across the French political spectrum – indeed, the idea of subsidising bike commutes was first advanced by centre-right MP Philippe Goujon. Next year’s international urban cycling conference, Velo-City, will take place in Nantes and it looks like the French will be all set to welcome it in style.