Everyone knows that biking and other exercise are good for you – but did you know that you just might be able to make money by getting on your bike and riding? That’s the latest buzz sweeping commuters across Europe, as many employers are paying their employees to come to work on bicycles.
Rewarded for Riding
In Belgium, the Netherlands and in other European countries, employers are rewarding staff that brings a bike to work by paying them for every kilometer they ride.
In Belgium, the cycling commuters are receiving 20 U.S. cents for each kilometer, while those in the Netherlands are pocketing 15 cents and people in Britain are bringing in up to 32 U.S. cents for each mile. And – it’s all tax-free.
Incentives to Ride
In Belgium alone, the finance ministry figures have shown that more than 270,000 people took part in the incentive program last year. This is up from 140,000 in 2006.
As Deiter Snauwaert, one of the coordinators of the bike-to-work program in Belgium, said,
“Higher oil prices and environmental awareness contribute to having more cyclists on the road.”
One of the most successful corporations that has joined in the plan is Colruyt, the Belgian discount supermarket conglomerate. They have over 22,000 employees and launched the program four years ago. They now have 2100 participants and they provide their employees who live up to 7km from work with bicycles and free maintenance.
Benefits of Riding to Work
As Company spokesman Victor De Meester said, “The more people cycle to work the fewer parking spaces you have to offer. It’s not so easy, especially in urban areas, to expand parking spaces.”
Now, Colruyt is setting its sights on those who live farther away, looking to offer electric bikes to employees who are more than 7km from work.
Research from the Dutch organization TNO has, not surprisingly, found that cycling employees lose one less working day a year than do employees who commute by other means. This obviously helps with healthcare costs, and it keeps employees fit and healthy, which in turn provides workers with more energy for their job.