This just came into my head as I began gathering my income tax information for this year. As I thought about certain things that allow us to claim a tax break in America, such as energy efficient homes, vehicles, and alternative energy sources, why do we not have a tax break for those who commute to work via bicycle? The more I thought about it the more I convinced myself that we were letting a great opportunity escape us. To me it just seems so obvious that this could create an amazing snowball effect which would eventually give cyclists (both road and mtn, I don’t discriminate because a bike is a bike) more of the respect and appreciation we’ve been waiting for. Basically an incentive to ride would get cars off the road which will help reduce emissions, help Americans get more fit, and clear off some of the congestion on roads to make us feel safer when riding. Instead of driving a Prius, I ride my bike to work every day because its fun. Although my bicycle puts out ZERO emissions the government does not yet recognize this. Any thoughts? Keep riding!
Unfortunately, our "beloved" politicians are too busy trying to get re-elected to actually do something that makes so much sense. Imagine the reduced health care costs alone, due to the fit factor of bicycling and the better air quality. And don’t forget the obesity epidemic in the USA. Perhaps we could start an on-line petition and send it to Washington DC. Any suggestions?
I know here in Georgia there are some bike-commuting incentive programs, I think on the state level. I don’t qualify since I’m a full time student and only part-time employed. I think most of these commuting incentive programs are based on individual state-by-state legislature, so I would check into that. Not 100% sure, though.
I think a lot of us would love a tax break for bike commuters. Unfortunately, there is an equal (and perhaps greater) number of people who think bike commuters should be taxed, either through bike registration fees or some other mechanism. They argue that car drivers pay road taxes through gas purchases, while cyclists don’t pay anything to enjoy use of the same roads. Pretty crazy…
Since moving to Colorado, I’ve actually found that many local companies have taken matters into their own hands (since the government can’t be bothered), providing incentives to employees who bike commute a certain percentage of the time. My wife’s company, for instance, provides a monthly credit to the bike shop of your choice if you commute.
My wife gets pretty nice incentives for commuting through her employer (of course she works in the bike industry so not a huge surprise.) In Madison (Dane County even) you can get a free state trail pass if you’re a commuter since we have a couple state trails that are valuable for commuting. I don’t expect my current state or national politicians to do anything more than that at this point (even though Wisconsin is home to many cycling companies and has lots of tourism related to cycling) but from a city and county standpoint they have bike to work weeks and stuff like that sometimes.