Bike to Work

It's not just good for you, but now has tax benefits

Calling all commuters... Did you know you can get a tax break for riding your bike to work? 

According to Sustainable Travel International's Ride Local website, the average U.S. commuter drives about 40 miles per day. If each commuter rode his bike instead, he'd save an average of 14 gallons of gas, burn about 500 calories per hour and keep almost six tons of greenhouse gases out of the environment. Still, only about one percent of commuters bike to work.

But now, there is an added benefit. Employees who cycle to work are eligible to receive $20 per month (up to $240 annually) tax-free to apply toward bicycle-related expenses via the Bicycle Commuter Act.

What it says: Any commuter who regularly uses a bicycle for a substantial portion of the travel between his residence and place of work in any given month is eligible to receive $20 tax free that month if he does not receive other transportation benefits. Commuter must be compensated through their employers through cash or vouchers. Businesses of any size are eligible. Currently, this won't add an extra hurdle when it comes to tax time. No special IRS reporting is required.

What it means: employers save on income, payroll, social security, unemployment, disability, workman's comp and retirement taxes, and employees get up to $240/year tax free.

For more information or for support in getting your business or employer on board, visit the League of American Bicyclists or contact Ride Local which advises business owners on how to facilitate bike commuting.

It's a great way to go--not only do you get exercise, but commuting by bike can be a great way to organize your thoughts on the way in and decompress on the way home.

Do you ride to work? What have been the biggest benefits and challenges? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.