More than 400,000 Belgians received a cycling indemnity for using their bike to get to work. In total, some 93 million euros have been paid.
The incentive is a mileage allowance paid for by their companies, who can deduct it from their tax bill. Employees in turn can deduct the purchase and maintenance of their bicycles.
Last year, about 406,000 Belgians benefited from the arrangement, at a cost of €93 million to the government. Back in 2011, the number of beneficiaries was 30% lower, at 314.000 employees.
The financial incentive is not the only one. Biking to work is a way of avoiding Belgium’s serious congestion problems. Belgium’s bicycle association has started a Bike to Work campaign to provide another impulse to the trend.
Cyclists are commuting ever greater distances. In 2011 the annual average was 944 km, last year it was 1,045 km. The average mileage allowance has correspondingly increased from €198 to €230.
But the amount could be much higher. An employee living 15 km from his or her workplace, working 210 days a year and receiving the maximum allowance of €0.22 per km would get an annual compensation of €1,386.