Oslo is so keen to get people on bicycles that starting Wednesday it will offer residents a free handout of up to $1,200 to buy electric cargo bikes. Citizens won’t need to be on a low income to apply for the funds, or even to promise to cut down on driving to qualify.
The grant, which goes toward buying a bike with a small electric motor that allows it to carry heavier loads in a basket or trailer, may sound too good to be true, but it isn’t a total free-for-all. The city will pay up to 25 percent of the bike’s cost, capping the grant at 10,000 kroner. Electric cargo bikes currently cost between 20,000 and 50,000 kroner ($2,400 to $6,000), meaning that buyers will still have to rustle up between $1,800 and $4,800 from their own funds. That’s a lot of free municipal money for a pretty niche mode of transport.