Municipal idea to get residents on their bikes

A scheme by municipal authorities in Nea Erythraia, northern Athens, aims to wean hundreds of local residents out of their cars and onto bicycles for a cash deposit that participants will recoup on returning the bikes. «People will be able to use the bikes for a few weeks or for several months,» Paris Bitsikas, the municipal official coordinating the scheme, told Kathimerini. Obtaining a bicycle requires a deposit of 75 euros which will be refunded when the bike is returned undamaged, Bitsikas said. Those unfortunate enough to lose their bicycle or to have it stolen will be charged an additional 75 euros. «We got the idea from the French city of Bordeaux,» said Efthymios Bakoyannis, a transport expert and adviser to the mayor of Nea Erythraia, Vassiliki Tampaki. Bakoyannis said that citizens could drastically reduce traffic congestion by embracing the scheme.

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