Citizens can get a 50 euro rebate (£45/US$68) when they buy a new bike, with half of the cash coming from the city council and the rest from a major retailer.
The idea is to provide an incentive for people to use bikes rather than cars – half of all motor vehicle trips in the city are shorter than three miles.
Unlike Britain's similar new 'scrappage' scheme for cars – where motorists can get £2,000 off a new car by handing in a vehicle more than 10 years old – the bikes traded in will not, where practical, be scrapped but will go to government workshops for the long-term unemployed where bike mechanics are trained.
A government spokesman in
Most generous, however, is an Italian government scheme that gives a third off the purchase of a bike, electric bike or certain classes of scooter, without having to trade anything in. It will be available for the whole of 2009 and has a budget cap of 8.75 million euros (£7.87m/US$11.92m).