Cycle to work schemes encourage employees to cycle to and from work rather than driving or even getting public transport. These have been adopted by a number of nations as a way of promoting a healthy lifestyle, being active and reducing environmental pollution.
With so many benefits, it’s easy to see why Governments and employers are keen to get these schemes up and running – but who does it best?
Well, in this guide, we’re going to take a look at some of the best places to cycle around the globe.
It probably comes as no surprise that The Netherlands comes top of the list. After all, the nation has a reputation for its number of cyclists. It’s estimated that there are around 23 million bikes there, outweighing its population of 17 million. Not only this, but inhabitants make 25% more trips by bike than any other nation.
But even with those impressive figures in place, The Netherlands is going one step further by incentivising people to cycle to work; they are actually paying people to use their bike!
With the opportunity to earn around €450 extra a year just by cycling to work (all whilst saving money on petrol or other transport) it’s easy to see why this is so popular.
This is also why the Dutch government are spending an estimated €390 million on cycling infrastructure, including at least 15 ‘cyclist freeways’ and lots of bike parking facilities.
Italy are also following in The Netherlands’ footsteps with many cities across the nation looking to move towards more sustainable ways of living through implementing these cycle to work schemes. In fact, in Bari cyclists can receive €0.21 for every kilometre they cycle to work through the scheme, though this is capped at €25 a month. A similar scheme already runs in Massarosa and is being implemented in other locations across the nation.
The government might also offer up to roughly €155 towards buying a new bike or €255 for a new e-bike. This is done through what has become called ‘mobility vouchers’ and this is offered to employees and students to help encourage them to travel on two wheels.
The Belgium cycle to work scheme is one of the most successful across the globe and was first implemented in 1999, so it is well-established by now. The scheme offers cyclists €0.24 per kilometre, as well as introducing tax breaks for those who participate.
It’s clear that the scheme has been well received, with the number of people commuting to work by bicycle increasing by a staggering 43% over the last 13 years.
A similar scheme is also running in France where commuters can claim up to €0.25 per kilometre they cycle to work, though again, this has a yearly cap of just above the €200 mark. However, many cycling organisations are continuing to advocate for abolishing the yearly limit to make it even more enticing to workers – so this may change in the future.
But either way, getting paid to cycle whilst saving money on petrol or public transport is still a win in our books.
Belgium’s neighbour Luxembourg has recently been through a large fiscal reform and has therefore seized the opportunity to introduce monetary incentives for cycling.
Rather than being compensated per kilometre, tax payers are able to deducted as much as €300 from their personal income tax if they purchase a new bike or e-bike in order to cycle to and from work.
What’s more, employers have the opportunity to give their employees bikes for business and private use, and unlike ‘benefit in kind’, these bikes are totally tax free for the employee.
Like Luxembourg, cyclists in the UK are not paid per kilometre to cycle to work but are offered different incentives instead. For businesses that sign up the official cycle to work scheme, their employees can receive as much 42% on the cost of bikes and cycling equipment.
In order to get this, they must sign up for the scheme, prove the cost of the bike/parts they want and then submit a signed form. They are then given a voucher to use at their chosen store (the store must be a partner of the scheme, but with over 2,220 retailers to choose from that’s not hard to find).
Plus, on top of being awarded money off bikes and equipment, you’ll be saving money on the commute and saving the planet. That’s not government funded but it’s certainly an added bonus!
So far this cycle to work scheme is looking a bit like a European trend and this is because many European nations have really embraced this idea. However, there are other countries around the world who have begun implementing these schemes and perhaps least surprising is New Zealand.
The Kiwis are very active and outdoorsy people as it is and cycling to and from work is no exception. Some cycling schemes in the bigger cities like Christchurch offer as much as $5 a day for those cycling to work, and this increases to $10 a day if you stick with the scheme for more than six months!
The payment is rewarded to participating employees as a bonus at the end of the year.
This list does not cover every cycle to work scheme around the world, just some of the best ones out there. It’s clear to see from this guide that European nations are leading the way in terms of these schemes with lots of mainland Europe embracing them whole heartedly over the last decade.
This is most likely because more people are becoming aware of their environmental impact and more businesses are doing their best to encourage positive mental and physical health (whilst looking after the planet). Not to mention that lots of countries are investing more money in cycling infrastructure, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic when more people chose to ditch public transport in favour of their bike.
For these reasons, it’s likely that we’ll see more of these schemes introduced in more nations over the next decade or so.
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