Have you heard of the Bicycle Commuter Act? How about the list of Bicycle Friendly Businesses?
Last week I heard about bicycle commuting reimbursement. This made me wonder, “Could I safely ride my bike to work? Would the reimbursement benefit make it worthwhile?” Fortunately, I can use bike trails for about two-thirds of my commute. Thus, I could ride safely to work; however, there is no shower at my workplace, so that is a deterrent.
I did some research on the League of American Bicyclists website to find out how the reimbursement program works. The website defines a qualified bicycle commuting month as any month in which an employee regularly uses a bicycle for a substantial portion of their commute. Some companies document this by having participating employees sign a monthly pledge card stating that they have ridden their bicycle to work at least three days per week (if fulltime) during a particular month. For each month that the employee completes a pledge card, they are eligible to receive, from their employer, up to $20 reimbursement for normal expenses related to the use of a bicycle for commuting . The reimbursement is exempt from taxation. Examples of eligible expenses could include cost of bicycle service, repair or storage, or purchase of cycling equipment. The employee must submit receipts for qualifying expenses. The details can be found in the Employer’s Tax Guide to Fringe Benefits For use in 2013.
During my research on the Bicycle Commuter Act, I discovered the national list of Bicycle Friendly Businesses on the Kansas Cyclist website. Unfortunately there were no Wichita businesses on the list. What does it mean to be a bicycle friendly business? It means that the business actively supports cycling and encourages employees to ride a bicycle for commuting as well as for fun and fitness. According to the application description, a bicycle friendly business encourages employees to ride a bicycle to and from work and on errands. A bicycle friendly business engineers an environment that is conducive to cycling (including bike racks and shower facilities). A bicycle friendly business educates people about bike safety and bike maintenance. A bicycle friendly business evaluates its current bicycle programs and sets goals for improvement.
What would be one simple step you could take to make your business more bicycle friendly? And what do you see as the greatest obstacle to being a bicycle friendly business?