Incentive yes or incentive no? Does Corato return or not return? 50 thousand inhabitants or Metropolitan City? Among the most frequent questions in the city, for about a week, there are those relating to one of the measures provided for in the Relaunch Decree: the bonus for the purchase of bicycles.
Yesterday the decree was finally published in the Official Journal (Ordinary supplement no.128 of 19 May 2020 – General series) and the good news is that Corato will also be able to take advantage of the incentive for the purchase of bicycles, thanks to its membership in the Metropolitan City of Bari.
The government’s proposal has thus contributed to pumping air on the flame of passion for cycling, which Corato and many neighboring cities have literally been rediscovering since it was possible to put one’s nose out of the house with (relative) safety. The bike is the symbol par excellence of freedom and many are appreciating the convenience of moving around the city without the car and its stressful conditioning or even just appreciating the beauty of nearby Murgia.
Bike bonus: as a function, those who use it. Article 229 “Measures to encourage sustainable mobility” of the Law Decree May 19, 2020, n. 34 makes changes to the law 12 December 2019, n. 141 and allows, within the limits of the allocation of the allocated budget fund (€ 70 million for the year 2020 plus residual account) “the concession is in favor of adult residents in the regional capitals, in metropolitan cities, in the provincial capitals or in the Municipalities with a population greater than 50,000 inhabitants, of a “mobility voucher”, equal to 60 per cent of the expenditure incurred and, in any case, in an amount not exceeding € 500, starting from 4 May 2020 and until 31 December 2020, for the purchase of bicycles, including pedal-assisted bicycles, as well as vehicles for personal mobility with mainly electric propulsion“. The “mobility voucher” can be requested only once and exclusively for one of the intended uses.
The aim is clear: to encourage alternative mobility and reduce pollutant emissions, as specified in the text of the article, coupons are also provided for other measures, such as scrapping of the most polluting motor vehicles. The decree also introduces the figure of Mobility Manager for companies and public administrations with the task of drawing up a sustainable home-work shift plan for employees and also redefines some technical characteristics of cycle paths. The measure is valid from May 4 (therefore retroactive) until December 31 of this year.
How can you request it? The Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport explains this in a note: it will be necessary to keep the purchase tax document and, as soon as a web application is being prepared by the Ministry of the Environment, to access it using SPID credentials (Public System of Digital Identity – click here if you don’t know how to request it).
As an alternative to the refund procedure, once the application is operational (within 60 days of the publication of the provision in the Official Gazette), the mobility voucher can be used through a digital shopping voucher that the beneficiaries can generate on the web application. In practice, the interested parties will have to indicate on the platform the medium or service they intend to purchase and the platform will generate the electronic shopping voucher to be delivered to authorized suppliers, together with the balance at their expense, to collect the goods or enjoy the service identified.
Cycle boom, the sector’s point of view. The incentive effect on a city like Corato, which is rediscovering, in some ways unexpectedly, the love of cycling is well rendered by Maurizio Carrer, Italian cyclocross champion and owner of a shop with a workshop in the craft area of Corato. “The very idea of the incentive, even before the incentive itself, has the effect of an erupting volcano. A large number of people are waiting for the lava to come out in order to start the purchase of the bicycle. There is a lot of euphoria in the city and there are already those who buy, regardless of security or not on the government contribution. There is a lot of water in this pot and it has been boiling for several days: I am experiencing a situation never seen in Corato regarding sustainable mobility. The beauty is that they not only buy fans or cycle amateurs, but all the items and accessories are snapped up: for children, women, for walks, for the city. What we expected for at least four years is developing and all this, absurdly, thanks to Covid». Carrer, however, with clarity, warns and offers a critical vision: «The magic wand, however, is not yet there and I hope that if all goes well. Will the state be able to handle all requests and not leave anyone speechless? Only I have monitored many, even by new customers. And if on average each city has two stores, the mountain of requests will be huge. Hopefully at least as high as the volcano».
“This new trend fills us with hope. Is it the right time for Corato to rediscover a passion for this fun and ecological means of transport? » wonders the Coratino club of Legambiente commenting on the high number of fellow citizens who are choosing the bicycle these days. “It would be nice – writes the active club named after Angelo Vassallo – to be able to exploit this contingency to put pressure on our politicians and finally obtain an urban traffic plan that also includes all the infrastructures useful for the safe use of the bicycle ».
Even in neighboring cities the situation is similar. Ruvo, for example, where the Coratino has his shop Antonio Giaconella, is in turmoil. A city where the incentives for soft mobility promoted by the municipal administration had already been successfully tested in the past. Two months of forced enclosure at home and in the city the passion for bicycles breaks out. New lymph for the sector after a period of stagnation? Is it the pedal assist that makes you feel? «Assisted pedaling is a show – explains Giaconella – A mountain bike with pedal assisted by an electric motor allows you to have fun on all our terrains, to discover ravines of nature that cannot be reached by car and to fully enjoy the wonders of nature» .
Similar situation in the neighbor Andria, where we met the former professional Giuseppe Muraglia, for years teammate of the unforgettable Michele Scarponi. Giuseppe, an unusual May without the Giro d’Italia, has not happened since 1945. As a former professional do you think that the bicycle can be an engine for the restart of this country? To what do you attribute this renewed passion of citizens for two wheels? What are the biggest requests?
“After many years, not seeing a Giro d’Italia in May is very strange, but maybe it will start again in October and it will be a great party and a symbol of rebirth. There were already many people who rode bicycles before this period, but nowadays also having electrically assisted bicycles, people are more encouraged to use this means of transport for both work and common walks. It is very comfortable and convenient and people take it more seriously. Many these days are also pedaling on the square and towards the grove with simple walking bikes. Maybe at the age of 50 they had never got on a bicycle before, but after these two tragic months they rediscovered it especially for the priceless freedom it can give, putting aside laziness. At a commercial level in my shop I found many requests in every sector both from the usual enthusiasts and from many eager to start. And then many people who had “wrecks” in the garages for more than 15 years decided well to restore them to rediscover the pleasure of moving around the city without the car. After all, the post-war recovery was characterized precisely by the bicycle, the typical gift for the kids was the bike or the ball. We have everything we need to dream of a better, bike-friendly society. And who knows, as in ’46, help comes from the emotions of the Giro d’Italia».
Boom to access bicycle shops, not only to buy, but also to restore old two-wheelers that have stood still for years. Did Covid-19 rediscover alternative mobility? Will our city take advantage of this opportunity? We asked for it Dario di Raimondo, owner of a bicycle shop and workshop in the center of Corato. “The post Covid has dusted off many bicycles, abandoned perhaps out of laziness, perhaps thanks also to a society now turned more to the virtual than real world. The saturation from a multimedia device has triggered the desire to physically feel the natural world, that’s why the first routes taken by storm were those in the countryside. A simple and intuitive answer for a clean and natural world, now apparently absurd in a world dominated by the car.
An unexpected and uncontrolled desire, however, that in some ways has sent us shopkeepers in a tilt in such a difficult moment, in which it is not easy to distance human relationships, but it must be done – the young merchant and cyclist from Korea observes severely – I had the pleasure of emptying the warehouse to see the two-wheeled vehicles circulating, whole families riding their bikes, but I was also pleasantly surprised by the many who rediscovered the pleasure of do-it-yourself, putting them back on their own their means. Mobility on two wheels could work if only we believe in it and are educated with others. This is an opportunity for our Corato: road re-education!».
In short, an all-round reasoning. You need an overview: how do you see the future pedal-driven Coratino? “The behavior to be implemented is certainly that of respect for what could be helpful. For example, if emergency stations are set up for the on-the-fly repair of vehicles, it is right not to damage them. If we use the bike to go shopping or small services it is right to check that they are not taken away from the rightful owners».
Incentive or bike bonus. How do you see it? “An incentive to purchase electric or muscle bikes (so defined without engine, editor’s note), it should involve even the smallest part of the insurance, in my opinion now necessary for a bicycle. I hope that the rediscovery of our Murgia will be encouraged also with guided tours in the saddle: city use is only the first step to combat sedentary lifestyle. Another topic, widely discussed, is the creation of cycle paths, but first I need a broad basic awareness – for example with whole Sundays dedicated to the use of the bicycle, Di concluded Raimondo – with the help of bikers and voluntary associations – to rediscover pedaling the pleasure of certain landscapes known only through our social networks».