21/06/2018 15:37 SAST | Updated 21/06/2018 15:40 SAST

People Might Soon Be Paid To Cycle To Work In The Netherlands

According to reports, the Dutch government wants to encourage people to cycle an extra 3-billion kilometres.

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People in the Netherlands might soon be paid per kilometre they cycle to work, as part of a new cycling initiative aimed at getting people to be more active. 

According to reports, the Dutch government wants to encourage people to cycle an extra three billion kilometres (1.8bn miles).

It is encouraging companies to pay workers 17p per km to incentivise them to ditch other forms of transport. 

There are already a huge amount of bicycles in the Netherlands - thought to be more than people at around 22 million bikes. There are around 17 million people in the country. 

In cities including Amsterdam and The Hague, it is estimated up to 70% of all journeys are already made by bike. 

Cycling groups in the UK welcomed the idea, seeing it as possible inspiration.

Dr Andy Cope, Director of Research at Sustrans, the walking and cycling charity, told HuffPost UK the initiative was good idea because cycling “can play a vital role in improving public health, reducing congestion on our roads and making our towns and cities more inclusive, liveable and cleaner.”

He said the UK government should do more to invest in cycling and walking infrastructure to encourage people to be more active. 

“We welcome any incentives that will help fully release the benefits of walking and cycling. Financial incentives could play a really important role in encouraging active travel and can offer a better option compared to other schemes that use public money to change travel patterns.”

Roger Geffen, Policy Director at Cycling UK told HuffPost UK: “The biggest issue with a scheme such as this would be how it could be enforced and whether it targets the people who would benefit the most from cycling, such as those out of work and the elderly.

“However there would certainly be a good economic case in terms of reduced congestion, pollution and the offset cost to the NHS which would easily outweigh what is paid to cyclists for participating in a scheme such as this.”