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By Meg Watson
June 05, 2014
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By Meg Watson
June 05, 2014
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For so many of us, France is the dream. The cheese is so good it's practically an out of body experience, it's acceptable to drink wine at any time of the day, local employers only want you to work 35 hours a week (with no sneaky emails thereafter), and now they're paying people to ride their bikes to work. For realsies. This isn't like when people say an internship is paid, but its actual currency of choice is good vibes and stale lamingtons from the break room. This plan is fuelled by real cash money.

This governmental effort to boost bike usage comes as an incentive to improve people's health, reduce air pollution and cut fossil fuel consumption. Though currently in a six-month trial period, the initiative is backed by similar efforts in neighbouring European countries too. The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and Britain also have bike-to-work schemes, but this will be the first of its kind to actually offer direct payment to riders.

The system as it stands offers 25 euro cents for every kilometre ridden to work. Live 4km away? You just earned half your morning coffee. Twenty companies employing a total of 10,000 people had reportedly signed up to the program as of Monday, and the government believe the initiative will raise the cyclist population by 50 percent. At the moment just 2.4 percent of French people ride to work, as compared to 8 percent in Belgium and a whopping 25 percent in the Netherlands. Our figures in Australia sit just below France, around 1.5 percent.

You can't help but imagine what a world of good such policies would do for us too. Despite traffic being at its worst, and the increasing presence of new bike lanes or bike-share programs, the desire to stay plonked sedentary in your car is stronger than ever. We're not saying we need the government to pay us money to get off our butts, but at this point, it sure couldn't hurt.

Via Reuters. Photo credits: Simona K and infomatique via photopin cc.

Published on June 05, 2014 by Meg Watson

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