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Payment for riding a bicycle or fighting for clean air

27 April 2016, 09:00

The authorities of Milan, as well as in other major European cities are concerned about environmental problems, in particular harmful emissions into the atmosphere. It is worth noting that even 8 years ago Milan was recognized as the capital of pollution throughout Europe. At the end of last year in Milan and Rome, a three-day ban on the departure of cars was introduced to reduce the amount of harmful substances in the air.

Recently, eco-friendly travel decisions by the Italian authorities have been allocated $ 35 million, some of this amount in Milan intends to use as a payment to those who refuse the car in favor of the bicycle. The idea to pay bicyclists arose about 2 years ago in France, when workers were asked to get to work on bicycles in order to reduce the level of harmful exhausts to the atmosphere. Then, only a few hundred people from 8,000 agreed to participate in the program.

As noted by Ralf Buhler, a professor at the Virginia Tech University, it's not enough to simply offer money to cyclists, you need to introduce other measures that will help to understand the importance of the problem. Dr Buhler in his statement mentioned one of the studies conducted in the US, which found that more than half of the population to some extent want to influence the environmental situation, but have some doubts about cycling. According to Buhler, people should ensure safety while driving, then a lot more people will switch from four-wheel to two-wheelers. The money for riding a bicycle will not attract those who doubt, which, Buhler said, is more than 50% of the population.

Pay attention to the creation of bike paths, special parking spaces, shower cabins - then many more people will choose bicycles. Of course, driving can be made more difficult and expensive, but it is possible to influence the choice of citizens in other ways, for example, the equipment of pedestrian and bicycle paths, good public transport, etc.

To date, the best bicycle infrastructure is in Copenhagen, but here a very small percentage of people prefer a two-wheeled vehicle, while this type of travel chooses only 6% because of the cheapness, most prefer bicycles, as this is a quick and easy way to reach their destination . But according to the poll, only 1% of cyclists in Copenhagen chose this type of movement because of environmental problems.

It is polluted air that is one of the reasons for people's refusal to move around on bicycles, so the idea of paying for bicycling itself is a good incentive, but if the city is filled with harmful emissions, this will not give the proper result.

In Milan, as in any major city, there is a very intense traffic on the roads and many simply do not venture to ride a bicycle on a par with two-ton cars. The air in metropolitan areas is so polluted, so people do not want to breathe toxins in addition.

The payment for cycling should be part of more global programs that include road safety, special bike paths, and guarded parking spaces for bicycles. To solve the problem of polluted air and traffic jams on the roads, just paying people is not enough.

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