13 Apr 2021

The French National Assembly sent an important message to governments around the world on Friday. If you are getting a government subsidy to exchange your highly polluting car you must be offered the chance to trade it in for an e-bike or have access to a higher bonus for an e-cargo bike.

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Cycling Industries Europe welcomed the move and called for more governments to follow the French lead. Chief Executive Kevin Mayne said, “Ever since the start of the COVID crisis we have said there should be no car scrappage schemes in recovery and climate plans that don’t include the option of bicycle purchases. We are seeing a welcome increase in stand-alone incentives for bicycle purchases, but the French Assembly has made it clear – e-bikes and cargo bikes are to be supported as vehicle replacements. Every government needs to recognise that it is the cycling industries of Europe that are leading the world in the change to e-mobility.”

Deputies in the Assembly voted for an amendment to the French Governments’ Climate and Resilience plan to extend the so called “prime à la conversion” to a series of measures to encourage the development of cycling. The original version of the plan had no cycling measures and provoked a strong reaction from deputies, but Friday’s amendment was welcomed by key figures as “real progress”. The premium could be worth €2500 per bike.

The law still has further stages to go before it is adopted, but the signal is sent. “For the first time it is recognised that the solution is not to make cars greener, but simply to reduce their number,” said Olivier Schneider of the French national cycle users’ association, FUB.

Cycling Industries Europe and other cycling associations have called for governments across the EU to expand the €1billion spent on COVID-related cycling measures in 2020 into a multi-billion Euro package of cycling infrastructure and financial support for bike purchase and bike sharing.

Kevin Mayne added congratulations for the work of FUB in the lobbying that led up to the vote. He said “FUB’s advocacy impact is the perfect case example of what I am told by our members – advocacy funding is the best return on investment of any Euro we spend”. In 2015 FUB approached the industry-funded Leadership Programme organised by ECF, seeking aid to strengthen their national advocacy work. Over three years the industry fund backed them with about fifty thousand Euros together with training and leadership coaching. The impact they have had since they started that programme has more than demonstrated the return on that investment, with France showing increases investment in all areas of cycle use.

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