There aremore bicycles than people in the Netherlandsand they account for almost half of all journeys between home and work in the city of Amsterdam alone. It’s small wonder the country proudly calls itself the “unrivalled number one bicycling nation” in the world.
Being a relatively flat country no doubt helps encourage people to get on their bike. As does the expanse of cycle paths and lanes that keep bikes separate from other traffic. But there is a little-known additional incentive for Dutch people to get on their bike – tax credits.
Every kilometre cycled could earn youan extra $0.22, tax-free, paid straight into your pay packet. This works in much the same way that someone driving their own car for business purposes is able to claim back a fixed sum related to the distance travelled. But the bottom line is that cyclists could be earning money simply by riding to and from work.
The Netherlands isn’t the only country offering financial incentives to get people out of their cars and using pedal power instead of fossil fuel.
In the UK, theCycle to Work schemeoperates a lease-to-own model allowing employees to get discounted bikes and equipment through their employer. The employer buys the bicycle and leases it to the employee over a set period – usually 12 months. The monthly payments are deducted from gross earnings, meaning an effective saving of 32% for basic-rate taxpayers. There is also a mileage allowance made available for British cyclists who use their bikes for business purposes, of around $0.26 per mile.
A similar tax-free bike-purchase scheme operates in the Netherlands as well as in Belgium, where a payment of$0.26 per kilometreis available to cyclists.