Bike subsidy for Estonian school children

School children in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, are being encouraged to ride to school with the promise of 100 euros (roughly $150) towards a bike.

The incentive is honoured only after they first pass a certificate of proficiency in riding skills and road law.

The Bike School program is available for children 10 to 15 years in age.

The aim of Tallinn's city council is to get people into the habit of riding at a younger age so they are more likely to keep up the healthy exercise late in life.

The funding will be available to residents of the Tallinn and must be claimed in the same year as the child takes and passes the bike test.

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Joseph Vimm said: “Our goal is to increase the safety of children in traffic, increase the number of cyclists among young people and promote healthy exercise.

"Passing the cyclist's test ensures that the child can choose the right riding techniques and assess where it is safe to ride.

“The habit and skills of using a bicycle that have developed in a young person could remain with the children for life.

"In order for the price of a child's bicycle not to be an obstacle and to give an encouraging signal to buy a bicycle, we want to support the purchase of this vehicle as a city,” Mr Vimm said.

The program is budgeted for 1 million euros in the first year, part of a 1.5 million euro school environment safety plan. The city is also building new bicycle parking lots.

Bike School will be promoted strongly next year, as Tallinn has been granted the European Green Capital Award for 2023. This annual award provides winning European cities with a fund to enhance their environmental sustainability.

Tallinn's 2018–2027 bike strategy has a target of 11 per cent mode share for bikes overall, with 25 per cent of that being for education trips. The aim is for lower traffic congestion, cleaner air, and healthy travel habits.

This article was made possible by the support of Bicycle Network's members who enable us to make bike riding better in Australia.