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France extends financial grants to buy a bicycle

Cycling organisations in France have welcomed news that the government has extended bike-buying grants in order to encourage people to cycle more.

France extends financial grants to buy a bicycle
Photo: Christophe Archambault / AFP)

The government has announced that it will increase the maximum available grant to €2,000 and the keep the scheme running until December 31st.

In total, the extended scheme is expected to cost €5 million.

“France is once again becoming a country of bicycles,” a spokesperson for the Union sport et cycle said after the announcement that the maximum amount that could be reclaimed to buy a new electric bicycle rose to €400 for those on the lowest incomes, or those with disabilities. 

Previously capped at €200, the electric bike bonus has risen to €300 for anyone with a taxable income of €6,300 to €13,489, or €400 for those with a taxable income of less than €6,300 and those with a disability.  

“It’s obviously going in the right direction, even if there are a lot of conditions,” Union sport et cycle told Franceinfo. One of those conditions is that the new owner cannot sell the cycle for a year, and the offer is only available once.

Under the extended scheme, financial incentives to buy electrically-assisted cargo bikes increases to €2,000 from €1,000 previously, while aid to buy folding cycles also rises to a maximum of €1,000.

The scheme includes traditional cycles – with means-tested aid fixed to 40 percent of the cost of the cycle, up to a ceiling of €150.

Find full details of the grants available here.

Unlike previous government efforts to get people cycling more, this latest scheme does not require equivalent support from a local authority, which had meant that people living in smaller towns and villages had been excluded.

The Fédération française des usagers de la bicyclette said it, “welcomes these first emergency measures taken at the start of this mandate […] which will help reduce household mobility expenses and help the most vulnerable families.”

The association, which campaigns for a continuous network of cycle paths in France, added: “the end of dependence on the car must become a priority with means equivalent to the provisions emergency support attributed to the purchasing power of motorists.”

Many local authorities, especially those in cities, have been extending cycle paths in order to encourage people to cycle more. 

Member comments

  1. Hi anyone know how you apply for the grant my daughter has just bought an electric bike but we haven’t been able to find out how to apply.

    Thanks

    Victoria

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LIVING IN FRANCE

MAP: The 20 cheapest French towns and cities to live in

The cost of living is a hot topic in France and across Europe right now - so where are the cheapest places to live?

MAP: The 20 cheapest French towns and cities to live in

At a time when purchasing power has never been so central to French people’s concerns, French daily Le Parisien has compiled a list of towns and cities where your money will go the furthest.

In order to produce this ranking, Le Parisien compiled the average salary in each location and then looked at the price of the average supermarket shop, the cost of transport (fuel as well as public transport), property prices (to buy or rent), property tax rates and the cost of a cinema ticket. 

READ ALSO Food, fuel and transport: Which prices will rise in France in 2023?

And it turns out smaller is better.

Of the 96 towns and cities tested, Niort, in the département of Deux-Sèvres in south west France (population around 60,000) came top,

Laval, in Mayenne (population around 50,000) was third; Saint-Brieuc, in the Brittany département of Côtes-d’Armor (population around 45,000), was 8th, and Rodez, down in the southern département of Aveyron (pop: c 25,000) was 10th.

The 20 most wallet-friendly towns in France are:

  1. Niort
  2. Châteauroux
  3. Laval
  4. Nevers
  5. Belfort
  6. Chaumont
  7. Épinal
  8. Saint-Brieuc
  9. Saint-Étienne
  10. Rodez
  11. Châlons-en-Champagne
  12. Quimper
  13. Arras
  14. Foix
  15. Poitiers
  16. Le Mans
  17. Colmar
  18. Montauban
  19. Bourg-en-Bresse
  20. Nantes

READ ALSO The 20 small towns most popular with house-hunters in France

Niort gains, the study found, in part because it has offered free local public transport since 2017 - a policy that other towns that rank well also implement, including second-placed Châteauroux (Indre), Bourg-en-Bresse (Ain, 24th) and Gap (Hautes-Alpes, 63rd).

For various reasons, including infrastructure, offering free public transport that meets higher levels of demand in larger cities is unviable, the report said. 

In fact, France’s larger cities are noticeably low in Le Parisien’s rankings. Lyon stumbled on to the list in 58th, Paris in 77th, Marseille 84th, and Montpellier 90th. Nantes, coming in 20th, is the only ‘large city’ representative in the top 20.

READ ALSO Wild boar, fast internet and kindly neighbours – why small-town France has the best of all worlds

The report stated that, despite salaries being little higher than average in larger conurbations, people also pay more for shopping, public transport, movie tickets, and housing.

The survey found that, on the whole, your euro goes further in the west of the country - where supermarkets are cheaper, and towns aren’t too congested, while the cost of a tank of fuel is lower, as are - researchers discovered - the more abstract costs, such as insurance, for the same level of service as elsewhere.

READ ALSO OPINION: An inflation ‘tsunami’ is about to hit France

Eastern France, the study found, benefited from relatively cheap property prices - offering more bang for a house-buying buck than the expensive ‘coastal bounce’-affected south or the Ile-de-France region, which orbits the cost-of-living singularity that is Paris.

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