01 May 2009

Italian Government Subsidizes Bicycles


Press Release - 1 May 2009
Italian Government Ministry for the Environment Announces Incentives for Purchase of Bicycle, e-Bike and Scooters

For the first time in Europe a government started handing out direct incentives for the purchase of a bicycle or e-Bike. The Italian government, through the Ministry for the Environment, started an incentive scheme which contributes to a maximum of 30% of the retail price of a bicycle or e-Bike. The maximum amount is €700 which is for a bike that retails for € 2,330. This is on average the retail price of a high-end electric bicycle.

According to the Minister for the Environment the incentives are not only for the purchase of bicycles but are also intended for small scooters and for electric Powered Two-Wheelers. They are valid for the whole of 2009. The incentives are based on a governmental budget of €8.75 million to be given to users who purchase a new bicycle or power assisted bicycle, without the need of writing off another vehicle.

The incentives are also given to purchasers of scooters either with an EURO-2 engine or electric powered. In these latter cases the writing-off of a scooter EURO-Zero or EURO-1 is mandatory. The maximum incentives for the purchase of big electric motorcycles is set at €1300 and for an electric scooter €850. For EURO-3 hybrid motorcycles the maximum amount is €950 while for hybrid scooters it reaches €600. For EURO-2 four-strokes and two-strokes the incentives are only €350 and €180 respectively. In order to obtain the incentive for the purchase of these vehicles it is needed to write-off a non-ecological PTW.

Piero Nigrelli, responsible for bicycles at ANCMA (the Italian National Association for the Bicycle and Motorcycle Industry) stated: “The decision of the Italian government to support cycling with incentives is something really new in Europe. Not only is this fantastic but more important is the fact that the incentives have been given based on the fact that the government wants to give a real push for the improvement of the air quality in particular in large urban areas.”

According to Nigrelli a rather large number of people took the opportunity to buy bicycles or e-Bikes with the incentives just after the start of the scheme. At the first day 11 applications came in of which 10 for bicycles and 1 for a Powered Two-Wheeler. He said: “Luckily we were able to simplify the paper work for the scheme by the dealers. And even some consumers called us to express their gratitude.”

Browsing through the government documents in which the incentive scheme is described it is stunning to read: “Bicycles, power assisted bicycles and similar vehicles are real options to promote a sustainable mobility as an alternative to motor vehicles...”

Not bad. Not bad at all. Many Italian cities are already at high bike usage rates. Ferrara and Parma, for example are at about 30%. Let's hope this signals change.

Via www.gruppobici.com


lagatta à montréal said...

I'm pleasantly surprised, given Italian governments' dismal record on transport issues since the postwar choice to favour autostrade over trains, and car-friendly cities over modernising public transport and keeping some of the world's most pedestrian-friendly spaces so.

I'm trying to imagine Rome following in the footsteps of Paris, Barcelona and other "Latin-language" culture places. Imagining a myriad of cycle-chic photo ops like the lady in this photo, and everything from cyclists in the flower of youth to elegant elders of both sexes.

And hope the accent will be put on bicycles (and perhaps bicycles with an electronic boost on the hills for people who need that), reserving scooters for people who need them for reasons of disability (including frailties of old age) or distance from home to work or studies.

The photo is a classic - really the colours of Italy!

La bicicletta è bellissima!

amsterdamize said...

That is great news, but is not new. The Netherlands introduced tax incentives for the purchase of bicycles, 750 euros worth many years ago (and now e-bikes, 2000 euros). It's almost too successful.

lagatta à montréal said...

Yes, Marc, but what surprises me is the ITALIAN government doing it. Alas beautiful Italy, with an ideal climate to ride all year long (though it does get icy in hilly and mountainous regions) has been worshipping at the altar of the car and the autopista for sixty years at least.

What would concern me with the scheme is people purchasing e-bikes - some of which are actually small, electric scooters - instead of bicycles, without actually needing them for reasons of handicap, frailties of age - or very high hills, in the Italian case. They are better than cars or petrol-fuelled scooters, but not ideal for the environment, and for longer commutes, bicycle + train is better in environmental terms.

ett said...

Everyday one cyclist die on the italian road. The cities and the roads are geerally not cycle or pedestrian friendly. The politician generally think that the cyclists are a minority and the car driver the majority. Parma, Ferrara, Padova, Bologna are generally exceptions that we like to imitate for every italian city.