By Adam Ruggiero on March 14, 2019, 10:45 am

If passed, the Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019 would allow cyclists to deduct more than $50 per month and write off bike-share memberships.

Getting to work can be a hassle — and costly to boot. That’s why the Internal Revenue Code currently allows people who commute by car or public transit to receive a tax break up to $265 per month (if their employer participates).

A little-known incentive—the Bicycle Commuter Benefit—is hidden in the tax code, and it can benefit both bicycle commuters, and their employers. Read more…

Unfortunately, no such tax provision exists for bike commuters. But that might soon change thanks to a bipartisan bill introduced in the House this month.

The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019 would add cyclists into the benefit category along with motorists and public transit users. If passed, the bill would provide 20 percent of the existing deduction — about $53 — and allow commuters to write off their bike-share memberships, even on electric bikes.

Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019

Before this year, cyclists had been able to receive a $20 per month tax credit through their employers. Of course, that changed when President Trump signed a massive tax overhaul that effectively wiped out that benefit.

The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019 shows promise, however, with both Republican and Democratic co-sponsors. Among them are Democratic Representatives Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts as well as Republican Rep. Vern Buchanan of Florida.

“Communities of all sizes are demanding better transportation options to get to work, and it is past time that the federal government provides the flexibility and incentives needed to encourage bike community,” said Rep. Blumenauer, whose district includes Portland, where 6.3 percent of people commute by bike. “We must offer more transportation choices that are better for the environment, cheaper for families, and incentivize burning calories, not carbon.”

Rep. Buchanan, whose Sarasota, Fla., district ranks as one of the most dangerous for cyclists, echoed the sentiment.

“Incentivizing bicycle commuting helps people stay active, promotes a clean environment, and is good for the economy,” Rep. Buchanan said. “I’m excited to continue co-leading bipartisan efforts to encourage biking and the numerous benefits that come with it.”

Codifying the value of cycling into tax law is a great way to help incentivize more cycling. Hopefully, that would lead to safer laws and better infrastructure to solidify bike commuting as a viable daily alternative to motorized vehicles.