Would you give up your car and switch to an e-bike for $4,000?

30 August 2022 https://traveltomorrow.com/france-is-paying-car-drivers-e4000-to-switch-to-electric-bikes/

France is paying car drivers €4,000 to trade in their cars and switch to electric bikes to cut down on carbon emissions.

In an effort to cut down pollution and compensate for high energy prices, France is granting up to €4,000 for people  who trade in their car for a bike. French citizens and organizations can apply for a ‘conversion bonus’ if they give up a polluting car, van or truck and buy a bike, e-bike, cargo bike or electric-powered bicycle trailer.

The scheme was first introduced by the French government in 2018 with the name ‘Le Plan vélo,’ but now the incentive has increased from €2,500 to €4,000. The full €4,000 is for drivers with low incomes and living in low-emission urban zones. Higher income drivers can access smaller grants. Additionally, for those who are not ready to give up on their car, a €400 grant is available for a bike or e-bike.

Today, about 3% of France uses bikes for daily trips. The country wants to increase the percentage up to 9% by 2024.

In the EU, The Netherlands leads Europe, with 27% of people using bikes for day-to-day transport. A recent study found that if the entire world pedaled as much as the Dutch do, global carbon emissions would fall by about 700 million tonnes per year, a number higher than Canada’s entire carbon footprint.

France is not the only country to offer a bonus for people who trade-in their old vehicles. Finland and Lithuania both offer citizens €1,000 if they trade-in their old vehicles for bikes, e-scooters, or public transport tickets.

Which cities in the world are the most bicycle-friendly?

If the world cycled as much as the Dutch, CO2 emissions from cars would fall 20%. In the Netherlands, people cycle an average of 2.6 km a day. The country has more bicycles than people, and a quarter of all journeys are made on them.

According to the American Journal of Public Health, cycling adds six months to the average life expectancy saving more than 3% of national GDP. If the whole planet cycled as much, about 680 million tonnes of CO2 pollution could be avoided every year. That’s a fifth of emissions from passenger cars.

The Netherlands has built masses of cycling infrastructure with more than 35,000 km of cycle lanes, a quarter of the country’s entire road network. It has created the world’s biggest underground park in Utrecht. Dutch people also rank highly on green awareness and have an established cycling culture. Their famous flat landscape helps too.

© Statista

Utrecht was named as the world’s most bicycle friendly city by the Global Bicycle Cities Index 2022, the World Economic Forum reports. The study, conducted by digital insurance company Luko, analyzed 90 cities across the globe, based on indicators grouped under six categories: the weather, bicycle usage, crime & safety, infrastructure, bike sharing opportunities and awareness events such as ‘No Car Day’.

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Cities over 50K residents and any municipality with more than 20,000 residents and episodes of high pollution must implement low-emission zones to start transitioning away from cars and pollution. These are “area(s) delimited by a Public Administration, within its territory…in which “restrictions on access, movement and parking of vehicles are applied to improve the quality of the air and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, in accordance with the classification of vehicles by their level of emissions in accordance with the provisions of the current General Vehicle Regulations.”

By Zachary Shahan, September 3, 2022, https://cleantechnica.com/2022/09/03/nearly-150-spanish-cities-rolling-out-low-emission-zones-in-2023/

Spain is getting serious about cleaning up its air, and that’s the case in cities across the country. Due to the Climate Change and Energy Transition Law, most Spanish cities will be implementing low-emission zones within their borders in 2023. Spanish municipalities with 50,000 residents or more have to implement such zones. According to one Spanish news source, that’s nearly 150 Spanish municipalities.

In addition to those core cities, any city with more than 20,000 residents and episodes of high pollution also has to implement low-emission zones.

The legal details of what all of these cities have to implement are quite vague: “A low emission zone is understood as the area delimited by a Public Administration, in the exercise of its powers, within its territory, on a continuous basis, and in which restrictions on access, movement and parking of vehicles are applied to improve the quality of the air and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, in accordance with the classification of vehicles by their level of emissions in accordance with the provisions of the current General Vehicle Regulations.”

So, basically, the cities have to restrict access, transportation routes, or parking access in some way based on environmental classification labels (A, B, C, ECO, and ZERO). Within those boundaries, city councils have the power to decide what exact Low-Emission Zone will exist in their jurisdiction.

As of today, just MadridBarcelona, and Seville (among cities within Spain) have Low Emissions Zones in place. As an example, the whole city of Barcelona is within the Low Emission Zone (ZBE) for the city

Here’s what Madrid is doing: “Madrid has the Central District Special Protection Low Emissions Zone (ZBE), formerly known as Central Madrid, which only allows access and circulation to cars and vehicles with a ZERO and ECO label — although, it has an extensive list of exceptions. “In addition, the capital will also soon have another ZBE, the Plaza Elíptica, as it will be activated on December 22. In this case, access will be restricted only to vehicles with label A — that is, those without an environmental label.

Seville’s current policy for this is not permanent and depends on traffic use.

More cities need this kind of policy in order to quicken the societal switch to clean, green, electric cars, trucks, and SUVs (as well as more bicyclists).