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Spain mulls paying workers who commute by bike


The Spanish government wants to promote a cycle-to-work scheme and is considering various incentives for those who commute by bike, including paying workers.

The so-called ‘En bici al trabajo’ scheme is part of the government’s ‘State Strategy for Bicycles’, which aims to promote and encourage the use of bicycles as a means of transport, being beneficial for both the environment and human health.

Among the possibilities to help encourage the scheme, the government is considering the idea that companies should pay employees who bike to work, a plan which has already been rolled out in some European countries.

“The bicycle is not just another mode of transport. Its use produces value for society, not only in terms of mobility but also habitability, health, the environment, equity, sociability, etc. And it produces benefits for those who travel by bicycle and for those who do not, by freeing up space and reducing air and noise pollution”, the Spanish government said in a recent statement.

Spain’s Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda has outlined its ‘Bicycle Strategy’ from all angles “from mobility to its benefits for health, through to its recreational and sports use, for business development, or as a basis for bicycle-based tourism”.

The government wants to involve companies to commit to initiatives that encourage the use of bicycles to travel to work. To do this it is considering modifying the tax regulations so that companies can consider paying their employees extra if they bike to work, in a similar way that businesses pay for company cars.

Countries such as France and the Netherlands already have similar schemes in place. In France, employees can earn up to €800 extra a year if they bike to work, and in the Netherlands, up to €1,500.

In Spain, however, this would require a change in the legislation, which is currently not planned, so it may have to be worked out in a slightly different way.

In the UK for example, tax incentives or discounts are given instead, which may also be partly paid by the company. There are also incentives to exchange old vehicles for bicycles.

In Spain, the ‘Bicycle Strategy’ is currently limited to promotional campaigns and this is the first of its 15 points.

The city of Bari was the first Italian city to pay its citizens to cycle to work. The city established a limit of €25 per month and up to €0.20 per kilometre can be earned.

Some Spanish companies in fact already have initiatives in place to promote biking to work and the popularity of cycling has already reached historical highs, where 57 percent of residents between the ages of 14 and 70 prefer to pedal to get around, according to the general secretary of the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE), Jesús Freire.

Source : The Local