Cycling doesn’t get as much attention these days as e-scootering and other types of micromobility transportation solutions. Still, it continues to be a popular choice in this country for getting from one place to the next — more so, though, in some cities than others.
According to 2017 Census data, less than 1 percent of American commuters nationwide use their bicycles to get to and from work. Relative to 2016 data, this represents a dip of 4.7 percent. But in 84 percent of the nation’s 70 largest cities, commuting by bicycle has been on an upward trend for the past 12 years. And in the five cities with the highest rates of bicycle commuting, an average 11.7 percent got to and from work on their bikes.
A new bill aims to make cycling more financially appealing for commuters. Known as the Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019, this bill would provide a tax break for those who commute by bicycle or e-bike.
Finally Catching a Break
Currently, those who commute by car or public transportation are entitled to tax breaks of up to $265 per month, as long as their employers participate. The new bill would allow cyclists to claim 20 percent of that benefit — $53 per month. It also allows cyclists to deduct the cost of electric bicycle ride shares and other bicycle ride sharing programs.
One of the co-sponsors of the new bill is Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon. His district covers most of Portland, a city where 6.3 percent of people ride their bicycles to work. The other co-sponsors are Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida.
Cycling is as green as it gets, so it’s hard to understand why this proposed deduction comprises just 20 percent of the tax break given to car and bus commuters. Still, it’s a step in the right direction for those who love to use their bicycles as daily transportation.