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Bicycle scheme extended with revisions to benefit more low-income groups

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Cabinet on Thursday approved revisions to the bicycle subsidy scheme for 2022-2023, introducing socio-economic criteria to benefit those with less income.

The first scheme in autumn last year was not means-tested. It attracted more than 8,000 applications within a few hours, with the higher-than-expected demand overloading the portal.

About 500 people benefited, based on a first-come first-served basis. The transport ministry promised at that time that a bigger budget would be made available in 2022.

For 2022, the ministry is budgeting €200,000. The objective is for 900 new standard bicycles and 25 bicycles for the disabled, it said in a statement.

Should there be more applications than set by the scheme, there will be an electronic draw, it added.

The main changes are the following:

Eligible beneficiaries are recipients of the minimum guaranteed income, recipients of public assistance, recipients of the grant for low-income pensioners, and families with dependent children as defined by the child benefits law.

For families, the criteria are as follows: families with one dependent child with gross annual income up to €19,500 and who receive child benefits; families with two dependent children and annual income up to €39,000 and receive child benefits and families with three or more dependent children and have an annual income up to €49,000 and receive child benefits.

For the purchase of a bicycle for the disabled, those eligible are holders of the European Disability Card or who present an attestation from the relevant evaluation committee.

The subsidies will remain the same — €200 or the actual purchase price (whichever is the lowest) for city, road and mountain bicycles provided the cost does not exceed €1,000. For the disabled, the subsidy is €800 or the actual purchase price (whichever is the lowest) provided the cost does not exceed €4,000.

Applications will continue to be submitted through the portal that was created for this purpose. Applicants must be Cypriot nationals, citizens of EU member states and third country nationals, aged 18 and over who legally reside in the areas controlled by the Republic.

Applicants who received a grant in 2021 cannot apply. The date of the start of applications will be announced soon, the ministry said.

The scheme aims to increase cycling as part of a push to combat climate change. It was among the goals of the Vienna Declaration of May 2021, where each EU country member undertook to double the number of cyclists by 2030.

Other goals concern providing adequate space and improving infrastructure for cycling and walking, to develop and implement national cycling policies and set national targets as well as increase the safety of cyclists and reduce the number of deaths and serious accidents.

The promotion of cycling is also part of the wider commitment of EU Member States to reach net zero carbon emissions, as stated in the National Plan for Energy and Climate 2021-2030, which provides for climate neutrality by 2050.

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