Minister for Finance Edward Scicluna and Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital ProjectsIan Borg launched a series of initiatives to encourage the use of bicycles in a joint press event at the Safi Local Council.
Amongst ongoing initiatives by the Ministry for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects, Minister Borg said that the ministry is doing its utmost to incorporate cycle lanes in its major projects, such as the Kappara Junction and the Marsa Junction Project, as well as in other infrastructural works, where possible. On the other hand, safeguarding cyclists and all other road users does not always permit implementing such lanes, especially when space is not adequate. Minister Borg explained how his ministry is incentivising individuals who opt to buy a pedelec or a motorbike. These will be given a one-time grant of €400. €100,000 are being allocated for this scheme, meaning that 250 individuals will benefit from this scheme.
Minister Borg said that several proposals put forward by cyclist representative groups will be introduced, including the removal of the obligation to register a pedelec or low-power assisted pedal cycles with an electric motor having an output of not more than 250 watts, the removal of the payment of the annual road licence for pedelec, moped and light quad bike licences, and the removal of the obligation of using a bicycle helmet, especially when renting pedelecs. On the other hand, the Minister said that the ministry as well as the entity Transport Malta will nevertheless encourage people to make use of these helmets.
“We must continue working hard towards less air pollution, less congestion, and the promotion of alternative means of transport, so that the necessary shift in our transport culture can take place,” Minister Borg concluded.
On his part, Minister Scicluna spoke about VAT refunds, grants and tax deduction as part of his ministry’s initiatives towards a cleaner mode of transport.
The Minister encouraged private companies which promote this alternative means of transport for commuting to and from work, to apply for this grant to invest in bicycle racks and showers. The bicycle racks have to be installed according to international standards and members of the Bicycle Advocacy Group are involved in assesing the project. Minister Scicluna said that the Ministry for Finance allocated a fund of €150,000 for such initiatives.
The Safi Local Council had been one of the first councils to invest in the installation of a number of bicycle racks around the village.
Those individuals who purchase a bicycle will get a refund on VAT up to €85 whilst those purchasing a pedelec or motorised bicycle will benefit from a VAT refund of up to €250. Minister Scicluna said that companies can now benefit from a similar scheme capped to €7,500.
“To further encourage the use of bicycles as means of alternative transport, even by tourists, we are lowering the VAT rate on bicycle rental services from 18 per cent to 7 per cent”, said Minister Scicluna.
Minister Scicluna spoke of the advantages of more people using bicycles instead of the conventional car, making reference to the concomitant benefits of cleaner air, a healthier lifestyle, and less traffic congestion.