Rewards for bike commuters getting closer

Posted on Aug 22, 2013 02:40 PM |

Rewards for bike commuters getting closer

A Car Bike Port for 10 bikes. Courtesy of Cyclehoop.com

You’ve probably given lots of thought to what impact your ideal ethical job will have on the world.  But have you thought about the impact of your daily commute to work?

In Australia, tax concessions for drivers mean the financial benefits are stacked in favour of driving a car to work – with all the associated environmental and social impacts of building more and bigger roads to handle all the cars.

But if what’s happening in New York is any guide, things might be starting to change in favour of more sustainable options.

In New York, cash incentives and tax breaks for cycling have become a refreshing feature of the 2013 mayoral race.

The candidates Anthony Weiner and Bill de Blasio have started vying for the bike vote, having opened their eyes to the benefits of cycling to the city.

They are proposing the City give a tax break to employers worth up to $120 if they underwrite biking-related expenses, such as maintenance, for their employees.

Weiner is chasing a 25% increase in bike commuting in the next four years. Under his scheme, employers would pay reduced payroll taxes for qualifying employees.

In Australia, an estimated 1.2-million people commute by bike every week, according to the Australian Bicycle Council. Plus, the National Cycling Strategy is seeking a doubling in the number of people cycling by 2016.

We will not reach this target in Australia unless incentives are offered along with a big improvement to cycling infrastructure.

While the tax concessions available for buying new cars in Australia have recently been restricted, there are still no matching concessions for public transport users and cyclists.

Let’s hope Australians who commute for work don’t have to wait too long for our political leaders to catch up.

Cycling is a healthier alternative to car use and it has a lower impact on the environment.

Bikes also take up less road space and employers can provide parking for 10 bikes in the same area needed to park a car.

What would your ideal commute to work look like?  Let us know in the comments below!