By Jonny Long
France has launched a €20 million scheme that will allow all citizens up to €50 for bike repairs.
Cycle training and temporary parking spaces will also be provided by the funds, which have been introduced after French authorities wish to keep air pollution levels low after they dropped significantly during lockdown.
60 per cent of journeys in France are less than three miles in distance and Elisabeth Borne, the minister for Ecological Transition, says this scheme is aimed at reducing driving for short journeys.
"We want this period to be a new stage towards a cycling culture and we want the bicycle to be the queen of deconfinement," Borne said.
A network of 3,000 registered mechanics will be set up, and €50 of repairs will be redeemable, such as tyre changes or chain replacements. The mechanics will provide the repairs and then be reimbursed by the government, meaning citizens will not actually receive any money.
This scheme comes after €300 million was promised for a network of nine protected cycle highways linking the centre of Paris with key suburbs. It will increase the current 370km of bike paths to 650km.
The French government is slowly bringing its lockdown to a close from May 11, with cyclists allowed back onto the roads for the first time since March.
Rides can be undertaken without a time limit, within 100km of your home, and with no more than 10 people, with cyclists also required to stay at least 10m apart.
Pro riders, such as Chris Froome who lives near Nice, are allowed to resume high-intensity training outdoors but must ride on their own and respect social distancing.
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