Massarosa town hall

A town in Italy has set aside over twenty thousand pounds to fund a pilot scheme that will see residents paid to cycle instead of using their cars.

The council in Massarosa – a town in Tuscany – will pay cyclists 25 cents per kilometre travelled, though this will be capped at 50 euros (£35) a month which still adds up to a rather tasty £420 a year.

Fifty employees will be included in the one year pilot, and their distances will be recorded via a smarthphone app. Rather neatly, the money they’ll receive will be coming from traffic tickets handed out in the town, the revenue from which has to be invested in road safety.

The Italian Federation Friends of the Bicycle (FIAB), which helped to develop the idea, says it hopes that other towns will adopt the scheme.

Local councillor Stefano Natali said: "The Bike to Work scheme will offer incentives to citizens to ensure the area becomes more liveable" thanks to reduced traffic and improved health.

The town believe they’ll be the first in Italy to adopt such a scheme, though the approach has been trialled in France before with mixed success.

In the UK, the closest widespread comparison is offering people tax breaks off bikes via the Cycle to Work scheme – though we have heard of individual companies paying employees bonuses for cycling.

Not convinced on the commute? Here are 8 reasons to cycle to work...