In an experiment underway in France, the French government subsidizes employers who pay their workers to commute to and from work on bicycles. The going rate is 1 Euro (ab0ut 34 cents) per kilometer. The program involves 20 employers and about 10,000 workers. If the experiment is a success, France will expand the experiment to more employers and workers later this year. The goal is to get 5% of French workers to commute by bicycle. Currently the average commute in France is 3.5 kilometers and French workers travel over 800 million kilometers getting to and from work every year.
Most European countries offer direct or indirect incentives to bicycle commuters in an effort to improve personal health, cut pollution and reduce the use of fossil fuels. Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Britain all use various incentives such as tax breaks, direct cash payments and grants to help people purchase bicycles. Many cities also use infrastructure upgrades such as tunnels and roadways reserved for bicyclists to promote the use of two wheeled transportation.
For those who don’t own a bicycle, bike sharing programs are in place in many European cities, including Paris, Stockholm, Barcelona and London according to the European Cyclists’ Federation located in Brussels.
For information on bike sharing programs in the United States, including a helpful interactive map, visit the website of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center.