Payments and Incentives
The UK scheme offers items as below:
Why cant we have a full scheme please Minister?
An employer cannot pay people to travel to and from work by bike. Or, rather, it can but any such payment would be viewed by the Inland Revenue as a salary increase and would be taxed accordingly. However, an employer may - and should - pay cyclists an allowance for business mileage. Cycling is a low-cost form of transport, but it certainly is not free. At the very least, cyclists should be compensated for the wear and tear to their bicycles.
The Government’s cycling allowance is currently 20p per mile for business journeys made by bike. Higher payments will be subject to tax. Nevertheless, many employers do pay a considerably higher mileage allowance and the money is an obvious inducement to travel by bike. For example, Richmond Council currently pay 50p per mile making cycling on business a financially attractive form of transport.
An alternative way of offering an incentive for cycle use is to ‘pay’ people in the form of extra time off. Several companies grant staff an extra five minutes holiday every time they cycle to work. It doesn’t sound a lot, but for regular cyclists it can amount to an extra two-and-a-half days’ leave each year.
pool bike A pool of bicycles can be useful for travel on-site (if your organisation covers a large area), for short business trips, site visits, or for staff to reach nearby shops or cafes at lunchtime.
The bikes will almost certainly be used by those new to, or returning to, cycling rather than experienced cycle commuters (who will, of course, have their own bikes). Pool bikes are therefore acting as ambassadors for cycling. The hope is that, after a few trips on a pool bike, the borrower will be so impressed that he or she will invest in a bicycle of their own. So pool bikes need to be comfortable, easy to use and reliable. No-one will be turned on to cycling if they suffer a sore bum, a jammed derailleur and a puncture!
Buy good quality machines equipped with mudguards, a luggage rack, a bell and a D-lock. Choose bikes in a range of frame sizes or opt for a design of bike that can be adjusted to fit both tall and short riders, (folding bikes such as Brompton, Brilliant and Tactic are particularly good in this respect). The bikes will need regular servicing and maintenance. They will need to be insured, and your pool bike system will also need administering and publicising. Staff need to be told where the bikes are kept and how to book one.
Bike purchase scheme
The Inland Revenue allows employers to offer interest-free or low-interest loans of up to £5,000. repayments are deducted from employees’ monthly salaries. Such loans can enable staff to invest in good quality bike and accessories relatively painlessly.
Guaranteed ride home
‘What happens if my bike gets pinched?’ ‘What if I have a puncture?’ ‘Suppose I have to work late?’ People’s worries about potential pitfalls and disruptions often deter them from cycling. Employers can address these concerns by guaranteeing staff a free taxi ride home in the event of an emergency or the need for unexpected overtime.
Cycle skills training
Many employers face a dilemma: on the one hand they are keen to encourage cycle commuting but, on the other hand, they are reluctant to see staff, who may not have cycled for many years, venturing out onto today’s roads and mixing with today’s traffic. Many employees are reluctant to cycle for exactly the same reason. Cycle training has a proven track record as a way of increasing people’s skill and confidence and inspiring them to cycle. A number of organisations provide cycling at workplaces. Click here to find out more.
Some, or all, of the following may be appropriate at your workplace:
* Discount at local bike shops. Your BUG may be able to negotiate a special deal for staff. Discounts of up to 10% are routine.
* ETA membership. The Environmental Transport Association (the ’green’ version of the AA or RAC) offers a range of services including cycle recovery, and group membership can be purchased.
* Cycle maintenance. Some cycle shops will undertake cycle maintenance during the day, allowing you to drop your bike off in the morning and pick it up for you return trip home. Better still some companies will pick up bikes from your workplace, and drop them back, fully serviced at the end of the day.
* Flexible approach to benefits. Allow employees who qualify for a company car to take a cash payment instead. Or allow staff to exchange their on-site car parking permits for cash or for vouchers to spend at a local bike shop.