Italy offers city dwellers up to €500 to buy a new bike

Italy will pay people living in urban areas up to €500 towards a new bicycle as part of efforts to promote eco-friendly alternatives to public transport in the wake of the coronavirus.

Italy offers city dwellers up to €500 to buy a new bike
Cyclists in central Milan. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

People in towns and cities with 50,000 residents or more can claim back 60 percent of the cost of a new bike as part of a raft of stimulus measures aimed at 'relaunching' Italy as it seeks to exit the crisis.

The bonus, which is capped at €500, applies to electric bikes as well as scooters, Segways, hoverboards, monowheels and “shared mobility services for individual use” such as shared electric scooters, though not electric cars or car sharing.


It will be available for vehicles bought between May 4th and December 31st 2020, and can only be claimed once.

At the moment, the bonus will be paid in the form of a reimbursement after purchase – so if you've just bought a new bike or are planning to imminently, make sure you keep hold of your receipt.

The government also plans to offer incentives to those scrapping cars and motorbikes this year and replacing them with sustainable vehicles or passes for public transport.

Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

The scheme is part of a sweeping 'Relaunch Decree' announced on Wednesday night that also promises to extend cycle lanes and introduce new stop lines at traffic lights to allow cyclists to wait in front of motorists.

Milan has already announced plans to transform roads in its city centre, pledging to make some 35 kilometres more accessible to cyclists and pedestrians by adding bike lanes, widening pavements and lowering speed limits.

Rome too has said it will speed up plans to extend its bike paths, starting with an extra 25 kilometres of routes in residential areas outside the centre. 

READ ALSO: Rome 'among worst cities in Europe' for road safety, traffic and pollution

Italy's most ambitious cycling incentive to date comes from the city of Bari in Puglia, where the council has experimented with paying people 20 cents per kilometre they cycle to work or school

But overall Italian cities remain far behind many other towns in Europe for bike-friendliness, with Rome especially suffering from limited cycle lanes, heavy traffic and poorly maintained roads.

It's hoped that more people will take up cycling in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, as people are encouraged to avoid crowded, enclosed spaces like metros and buses.

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Anti-vaxxer assaults Covid-era Italian PM Conte at rally

An anti-vax campaigner on Friday assaulted Italy's former premier Giuseppe Conte, who imposed strict restrictions at the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, his political party said.

Anti-vaxxer assaults Covid-era Italian PM Conte at rally

Conte was “attacked by an anti-vaxxer in Massa”, a small Tuscan city where he was attending an election rally, his opposition party the Five Star Movement wrote on Facebook.

News agency Ansa said the man struck Conte in the face, blaming him for the lockdown policies imposed during the pandemic and other measures. Police officers later took him away.

As well as his own party, Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni expressed her “solidarity” with Conte.

“Any form of violence must be condemned without hesitation,” Meloni said in a statement. “Dissent must be civil and respectful of people and political groups.”

Prime minister from June 2018 to February 2021, Conte was the head of government when the Covid-19 outbreak suddenly struck northern Italy in February 2020.

Italy was the first country outside China to suffer a major outbreak of Covid-19.

The virus has killed nearly 190,000 people in Italy to date, according to the health ministry.

Conte imposed stringent coronavirus restrictions in the early phase of the pandemic, including an economically crippling shutdown and the mandating of face masks in public.

His successor as prime minister, Mario Draghi, imposed a compulsory coronavirus health pass in September 2021 tied to the Covid-19 vaccine.

Conte’s early decisions during the breakout, including one not to impose “red zones” in two hard-hit areas, are the subject of an ongoing judicial inquiry.

Investigating magistrates suspect that Conte and his government underestimated the contagiousness of Covid-19 even though available data showed that cases were spreading rapidly.