Bike Bonus: In One German Town, You Can Cash in On Car AND Bike Swaps

Swap Car For Bike photo

Germany's Verkersklub Deutschland lobbies for a bike-friendly scrapping scheme.

Germany's 2,500 Euro car swap rebate, which came into effect back in January, has been controversial - organizations such as the Association for Sustainable Mobility say it has done and will do nothing for the environment. Well how about bike swapping? The city of Mannheim has partnered with organization Biotopia to offer adult residents the ability to leave behind their old bikes get a 50 Euro rebate from the purchase of a new bike. One hilarious aspect of the Handelsblatt/Reuters news story about the swap, however, is that it is prefaced with a commercial for a new Mercedes!
I want to swap my bicycle
According to the Telegraph, a study last year showed that half of Mannheim's car trips were for less than three miles, so getting people out of their car and onto bikes was considered an obtainable goal. With this deal, an adult purchasing a "suitable" bike for city riding after May 2 - i.e. not a child's bike - can bring the receipt and their old bike to Biotopia and get the rebate.

Not recycled, refurbished
Biotopia plans to take the old bikes that are turned in for the rebate and are salvageable and refurbish them while at the same time training bike mechanics, and then resell them. One drawback of the scheme is that it doesn't encourage those who've never biked before to buy a new bike. Otherwise, sounds like green jobs to me.

Bikes and cars neck and neck
According to an article at the Young Germany website, there are 68 million bicycles in the country, and 69 million cars. While in Mannheim, the rebate might stimulate local sales, Young Germany says bike dealers are reporting an upswing in owners wanting to fix up their existing bikes, too.

ScrapIt in BC combines bike and car scrapping
Mannheim is not the only city trying to get people back onto bikes for short haul errands and commuting. In Victoria, BC, if you scrap a pre-1995 qualifying car, you can get a year's worth of free transit passes plus up to $1,200 Canadian for the purchase of a bike and up to $1,300 for the purchase of an e-bike.

Via: Bike Commuters
Read more about swapping at TreeHugger
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