If you are a cyclist, then you already know the benefits cycling can bring to your life and its zero environmental impact. It is a genuinely sustainable activity. But along with the health and environmental benefits, if you commute to work on a bike, you may also receive some other benefits, according to an article on Euronews.Green website.
Global Carbon Emissions
A study done in 2020 about carbon emissions from transport systems found that 7.3 metric tons of carbon are produced each year. This includes any kind of vehicle that burns fuel with personal vehicles (cars) being the biggest offender. To get a visual representation, see the graph created by Statista.
That means that even a “moderate increase in bicycling each year could save 6 to 14 million tons of carbon dioxide…,” this is according to the UCLA Transportation website.
In the Netherlands, for instance, where residents ride 2.6 kilometers per day (less than 2 miles), carbon emissions could be reduced by 600 tons if this practice were adopted worldwide.
European Countries Paying Bike Commuters Riding to Work
Many European countries have taken notice of the climate problem we are all facing. As has been mentioned by many global leaders, climate change is an existential crisis.
To help combat this problem, companies in various European communities reward their employees with tax breaks for every kilometer they ride to work. If an employee doesn’t have a bike but wants to participate in a bike-to-work program, companies help them to buy a new bike.
Current Countries Supporting Bike to Work
While the following list may seem short, the impact of these countries is having is substantial. Furthermore, there are a few countries not listed here that probably should be, such as Denmark, Germany, Spain, and even some I don’t know about. That doesn’t matter as much as the fact cycling is getting the attention it deserves.
The Netherlands. Businesses offer commuters 0.19 euros per kilometer they ride, which they can deduct from their yearly taxes. This is also known as a Mileage Allowance. If a commuter were to ride 10 miles per day at this rate, he could earn 450 euros a year (that’s about $480.00 in dollars based on the current exchange rate).
Belgium. Commuters receive 0.24 euros per kilometer.
France. 0.25 euros per kilometer goes to commuters but after 200 euros, the credit ends.
Italy. Italy’s reimbursement is based on the region where commuters live and work. In Puglia, for instance, commuters receive 0.21 euros per kilometer. They may also receive mobility vouchers. These can be used toward the purchase of a bike.
- Luxembourg. The country gives employees a 300 euro tax credit toward a new bike.
- The United Kingdom. What U.K. companies offer employees is also a bit different. If employees take part in a cycling-to-work program, then they can purchase a bike through their employer. In addition, 32% of the cost of the bike can be used as a yearly tax deduction.
The benefits of cycling are many, and to get paid to ride (even if it is in small increments, incentives toward a bike, or tax breaks) is a real plus. That is in addition to the fact a study by the University of Glasgow shows that bicycle commuting, even more than walking, is better for one’s cardiovascular health.
In fact, the study points out that “[t]hose who cycled the full length of their commute had an over 40% lower risk of heart disease, cancer, and overall mortality…”
My hope is that other countries, especially the United States, will invest in and support bicycle commuting to work in the future. But first, the infrastructure needs to be in place.
With the weather becoming more unpredictable and damaging to places in the world, it’s past time for governmental leaders to place more focus on sustainable modes of transport, such as cycling. It could actually help to save us all in the end.
Have a good weekend everyone!!