To encourage people to cycle rather than drive, Massarosa in Italy will pay people up to €50 per month

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An Italian town has allocated funds to encourage people to cycle to work rather than drive. Each rider could earn up to €600 per year for pedalling instead of using their car.

Council officials in Massarosa, Tuscany, will launch the pilot scheme for fifty employees over a 12 month period.

The initiative will see bicycle commuters paid up to €50 (£35) per month based on their mileage, according to the Il Tirreno news site, at a rate of €0.25 per kilometre.

To keep track of their riding, the riders will use a smartphone app to verify their distances.

The money paid to riders will not come directly from the public purse, as might be cause for objection by those not wanting or able to take part, but will instead come traffic fines.

The Italian Federation Friends of the Bicycle (FIAB) is hopeful that other towns across the country will follow suit.

“The Bike to Work scheme will offer incentives to citizens to ensure both a better livability of the area [and] less traffic on the roads,” said local councillor Stefano Natali.

This is thought to be the first such scheme in Italy, but a similar idea was launched in France last year.