Italy may soon see fewer cars and more bicycles on its roads thanks to a new initiative that will offer a hefty subsidy to anyone wanting to buy a bike.
The move is part of the country’s €55bn post-pandemic recovery plan designed to boost Italy’s economy and entails offering €500 ($600) to anyone living in cities of more than 50,000 inhabitants and wishing to purchase a new bicycle or e-scooter.
Italy was one of the first countries outside of China to be hit hard by COVID-19 and to enforce extensive lockdown rules in an effort to control the pandemic. Shaken by the experience, many Italians (along with others around the world) have expressed reluctance to use public transit as normal life slowly resumes.
The new subsidy is accompanied by an initiative to expand bicycle lanes throughout Italian cities in a bid to fend off a resurgence of car use. Rome, for instance, is expected to see 150 kilometers of new cycling paths by September, while Milan has been switching 35 kilometers of urban streets to temporary bicycle lanes and widened sidewalks. Hopefully, these will become permanent, once residents realize how helpful they are.