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Cash incentives to get on your bike

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Cyprus’ Transport Ministry is launching an incentive scheme to get people out of their cars and on their bikes by handing out €200 cash rebates for each bicycle purchased.

From 1 November, people interested in buying a bicycle with the government’s support can apply online through the www.podilato.gov.cy platform.

Applicants must submit evidence of their purchase, including a legal receipt and a photo of the bike, to be entitled to the €200 refund.

The scheme has a budget of €570,000 and will run between 2021 and 2023, enabling 2,850 discounted bicycle sales.

Presenting the scheme on Tuesday, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said it is part of Cyprus’ bid to reduce CO2 emissions.

“This effort is part of the transport ministry’s strategy to increase multi-mobility traffic and use sustainable means of transport, including cycling and walking.

“The promotion of cycling as a means of transportation aims to alleviate traffic congestion by providing other options for commuting within the city, and introduce cycling in the daily lives of citizens as a safe and reliable means of transport.”

Karousos argued that cycling is an emission-free and affordable way of commuting.

The bicycle incentive scheme is part of the ministry’s €4 mln sustainable mobility initiative, funded by the European Union’s Recovery and Resilience Fund (RRF).

It covers all types of bicycles, city, road, mountain bikes, and people with disabilities.

The subsidy for city, road, and mountain bikes will be a flat rate of €200 for bicycles of up to €1,000, including VAT.

If the bike is worth less than €200, then the ministry will cover the cost.

Bicycles for people with disabilities will be subsidised up to €800 or the purchase price, whichever is lower.

As Karousos noted, electric bikes are not included as they will be part of a future scheme.

Cypriots, EU citizens and third-country nationals residing in the Republic over the age of 18 can apply.

Each person will only be eligible for one purchase.

Promoting cycling was among the goals of the Vienna Declaration signed on 18 May 2021.

According to the declaration, each EU country must double the number of cyclists by 2030.

“Promoting cycling is also part of the wider commitment of EU Member States to reach net-zero carbon emissions, as stated in the National Plan for Energy and Climate 2021-2030, which provides for climate neutrality by 2050”, Karousos said.

He said the burden of reducing emissions falls largely on the transport sector, adding that authorities will modernise public transport.

“Cycling is a significant part of redesigning transport network, with authorities launching several projects to promote the use of bikes.

Karousos said the infrastructure for cyclists would improve, with bike routes leading to sports and commercial centres.

His ministry is also looking at bringing down the speed limit in busy neighbourhoods to 30 km/h from the current 50 Km/h.

Bicycle lanes will also be created, with traffic regulating systems giving priority to cyclists.

Authorities are considering introducing a car-free day, where city centre roads will only be open to cyclists.