Do you bike to work? Wouldn’t it be nice to get reimbursed for your bike share membership, tune-ups or repairs?
A bill in Congress is looking to make a tax benefit for bike commuters a reality. It’s the “Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019.” Currently, it’s in the House of Representatives, and would reclaim benefits bicyclists lost when tax reform was passed in 2017.
Under the new bill, cyclists would receive $53 per month for commuting. Old legislation allowed cyclists to receive $20 per month as a commuter benefit.
While biking to work is a popular way to commute, recent Census Bureau statistics show it’s on the decline, overall. Commuters who cycle dropped 4.7 percent in 2017 from the year before, the last full year data shows. Less than 1 percent of all commuters bike to work as well.
Bike commuting is popular in major cities
However, when you look at what’s going on the major cities, cycling to work is on the rise. During the last decade, 84 percent of the 70 largest cities have seen an increase in commuting by bicycle.
The data shows the top cities include California municipalities Davis, Santa Cruz, and Palo Alto. Boulder, Colorado, Somerville, Massachusetts, and Corvallis, Oregon all rank high as well.
Cycling to work appears to be popular in college towns, with 2-3 percent of commuters in Gainesville, Florida, State College, Pennsylvania, Ann Arbor, Michigan, and Madison, Wisconsin using bikes to get to work. Some larger cities with a higher percentage of cyclists commuting include California cities, San Jose and San Francisco. In those cities, about 2 percent of people bike to work.
Current commuter benefits
If the bill passes Congress and is signed into law, commuting by bike will join other modes of transportation where commuters can save some money.
But as it stands, commuters can only use commuter benefits for mass transit, rideshares or qualified parking. And when you do, you save up to 40 percent in commuting costs (the maximum is currently $265 per month). Employees save up 7.65 percent on the payroll tax so it’s a great benefit for everyone.
If you want to learn more about commuter benefits, download the 101 Guide below: