View Full Version : Commuting to work by bike
01-28-2007, 10:54 AM
I am a regular bike commuter to my workplace and I work for a small business that has around 10-12 employees. Currently I am 1 of 2 employees that commute by bike and I would like to see this participation increase. So I would like input on ways to make this happen. Does Tri-met offer discounts to businesses if their employees use the bus? Are there tax breaks that can be given to our company that can in turn be handed back to the employees for riding their bikes to work?
01-29-2007, 11:39 AM
There is a federal tax incentive program called Commuter Choice that allows both businesses and individuals to purchase transit passes or vanpool fares and deduct a portion of the cost from their taxable income. More information is available at www.commuterchoice.com. At the very least, your employer could work with TriMet to let employees purchase their passes via a pre-tax deduction and let you reap the benefits of lowered tax liability.
Unfortunately, this tax break does not extend to cyclists, walkers or carpoolers. Congressman Blumenauer is working on correcting this, as you can read at his website. http://blumenauer.house.gov/issues/Issue.aspx?IssueID=15&SubIssueID=25
Employers can get a state tax break from the Oregon Dept. of Energy if they purchase bicycles or bicycle parking for their employees. http://www.oregon.gov/ENERGY/CONS/BUS/docs/betcbro.pdf
Unfortunately, there aren't too many incentives out there to encourage cycling to work.
01-29-2007, 07:44 PM
They will get a huge "gas tax" break and if they stick with it their future health care costs will be lower.
02-08-2007, 07:57 PM
I think one of the best things you can do to help your coworkers is to offer to ride into work with them and/or help take their bike on the max. It is hard just to find a routine that works, and to gain confidence in traffic. That's exatly how I got started, and how I got one other commuter on the road :)
02-09-2007, 12:56 PM
Show your enthusiasm for commuting and cycling in general. Be in love with your bike, show it lots of attention, talk about it and the ways it's changed your life. Most of all, show how viable it is to commute by bike by example. We Portlanders are terribly fortunate to live in a place progressive enough to have infrastructure that makes cycling a realistic alternative to driving.
02-09-2007, 05:21 PM
Trimet offers our company a deal that one cannot refuse. We get a yearly pass for an insanely discounted price (wouldn't even blip on my taxes). Have your employer talk with trimet to understand what is available. I am sure that our company does pay a large sum to be part of the program, but for the employees, it's one of the few great deals out these.
If you know other employees are interested in cycling but has doubts or just cannot decide on a bike, there are some great opportunities out there. One of which is the Exchance Cycle Touring Club that rebuilds used bikes for affordable quality bikes for the masses. Maybe you will need to give them the boost by offering to shop for a bike with them and even do some rides with them. Its not easy, but you are asking to change people's lifestyles.
02-09-2007, 05:48 PM
You can create your own incentive program at work. The City of Portland provides extra cash to all emplyees who ride their bike or walk to work. check it out:
Another organization that provides incentives to their employees who stay active is the Salvation Army. The policy with SA only rewards walkers and runners but if the runner or walker keeps a log of the miles they have gone and submits it monthly they can earn vacation days that they can cash out on at the end of the year. 50 miles equals 1 day. 100 miles equals 2 days and 250 miles equals 3 days.
I am not sure how down your employer is with implementing a program like these but its worth a try.
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