The Government of Spain wants to encourage the use of bicycles to travel from home to work. The bell ‘Bike to work’ is one of those included in the so-called ‘State strategy for the bicycle’which aims to promote and encourage the use of this means of transport, considering it “ideal” for human health and the environment. Among the future possibilities, the one that companies pay extra money to employees who bike to workas is already done in some European countries.
“The bicycle is not just another mode of transport. Its use produces value for society in terms not only of mobility but also of habitability, health, 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 Government highlights.
In this scenario, the Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (Mitma) addresses the promotion of the ‘Bicycle Strategy’ in order to coordinate the different policies and actions around the promotion of this medium from all angles, ” from the mobility until their health benefitsgoing through his recreational and sports usefor the business development of the sector, or as a basis for a bicycle-based tourism“.
The Executive also wants to involve companies. “The chain reaction caused by the ‘bicycle effect’ also occurs when companies commit to initiatives that promote the use of this mode of transport to go to work”, he points out.
Extra income of up to 1,500 euros per year
The ‘Bicycle Strategy’ proposes for this modify tax regulations in such a way that companies can consider cycling as income from workin the same way that it is already done with company cars.
Countries like France and the Netherlands already apply measures. Over there employees can earn up to 800 (France) and 1,500 (Netherlands) extra euros per year for cycling to workbut that in Spain would require a modification of the current legislation, which is not foreseen at the moment.
Other pro-cycling measures apply in these countries, as well as in the UK, including tax incentives or discounts for its acquisition, which can also be partly paid by the company for which one works. There are also incentives to exchange old vehicles for bicycles.
In Spain, the ‘Bicycle Strategy’ is limited for the moment to promotional campaigns. Thus, it promotes a communication action aimed at companies so that they promote in their sustainable mobility plans to work the bike in daily transport. It is the first of 15 points on the ‘good practices’ that companies can have to join the ‘Bicycle Effect’.
Other points point to the need to establish “conciliatory and flexible working hoursfacilitating movement by bicycle according to personal circumstances”, and “have spaces where you can park your bike safely and be able to perform basic maintenance.
“Enable changing rooms and showersto encourage those who live further away” and “define applications or ‘bike paths to work’ systemsso that routes are organized to arrive by bike together”, are other points of the campaign.
Lend bicycles to employees
The Mitma also wants companies buy bicycles to lend them to their employeesthat facilitate “the use of systems of Shared municipal bikes“, and that they launch communication campaigns to “encourage their staff to use the bike in daily mobility”.
Facilitate training activities on sustainable mobility, establish criteria for give priority to suppliers that use cyclologistics in their parcel deliveriesand joining professional platforms on sustainable mobility, creating “a more bicycle-friendly corporate brand image” are other government proposals.
The Executive’s ideas also include several related to incentives for employees who adopt active mobility in their work trips to the detriment of private motor vehicles, signing agreements with other companies to offer them discount on your purchases.
Also included in the list of advice to companies is the organization of networking activities outside working hours to carry out bike routesand certify as ‘bicycle friendly entity’; “For example, with the ‘Bike Territory’ certificates from the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) or the ‘Cycle-Friendly Employer’ certificate from the European Cyclists Federation (ECF)”.
but for now In Spain, only large companies, with more than 500 employees, are required by law to draw up sustainable mobility plans to work.
The Government, for its part, has allocated 490 million from European Next Generation funds to help city councils and autonomous communities that promote the use of the bicycle.
Website of the ‘Bicycle Strategy’: https://esmovilidad.mitma.es/estrategia-estatal-por-la-bicicleta
Contact of the Environment section: [email protected]