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By Valeria HiraldoValeria Hiraldo
The initiative went around the world and aroused sighs of envy among cyclists from other countries: 18 companies in France launched a pilot program based on which workers who cycled to work would receive 25 cents of euros for each kilometer traveled .
It saves us time and money, makes us fat, and also clears our minds. And not only that, it is the queen of any city that aspires to be modern and sustainable. Today, World Car Free Day, we pay tribute to the bicycle, and we vindicate it on our streets, echoing a phenomenon of global reach. It is about Critical Mass and it is, simply, a group of cyclists who, once a month, circulate in groups through the city with the aim of celebrating the culture of the bike and claiming the right of cyclists to share the streets with the rest of the users.
The Holstee Manifesto:
The French experience was a success: in total, the number of workers who decided to change the way they got to work doubled. 19% of those who did so by car switched to cycling, and 54% left public transport for pedals, according to a report by the Environment and Energy Control Agency (ADEME). Workers saved up to 300 euros a year. And in other countries, like Italy, similar measures were put in place.
When people ride bikes, great things happen. At PeopleForBikes, we believe in the power of a bike ride to turn your day around. The next time you have a bad day - or even an average day - get on the bike and improve your mood. Take a bike ride.
Now, the French Government has gone one step further and has turned that initiative into law, coinciding with the celebration of the Climate Summit (COP21). "The reimbursement will be up to 200 euros per year, which companies can deduct from social contributions", explained the Minister of Ecology, Ségolène Royal.
The amount of money finally fixed, notably less than the previous one, has outraged some cycling groups. "When transport is responsible for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions in France, it is outrageous that this step backwards was taken in the midst of COP21," explained the French Federation of Bicycle Users (FUB). Other cyclists, however, point out that the generalization of the measure is good news, as it will encourage more and more people to take the step to the bicycle to commute by bike to work.
The French tax system already allows companies to pay half of the public transport pass to their employees and deduct that amount from social contributions, but something like this did not exist for the bike.