This is apparently very old news, but somehow I just heard about it today. Way back in 2008, a Bicycle Commuter Act was passed as part of the Renewable Energy Tax Credit legislation that went into effect on January 1, 2009. This allows for a reimbursement (from your employer) of up to $20/month for bicycle related expenses, assuming you commute by bicycle regularly.
How this reimbursement happens seems a little hazy and is apparently for each employer to figure out themselves. I haven’t heard a peep about this benefit yet from my employer, so am assuming that it’s not something they actually offer at this point. I sent an inquiry to my HR office and am awaiting a reply…
Even if they do offer it, it’s unlikely that I would ever actually take advantage of the benefit, as you can’t receive this reimbursement in the same month that you receive another transportation benefit (i.e. a transit pass or parking reimbursements), and I really love my subsidized MBTA pass. It seems a shame that these things can’t be combined, since $20 a month is pretty meagre anyway, compared to the $115/month that’s allowed for transit and the $210/month to help drivers. As soon as I heard about this I thought about a beautiful new saddle bag I’ve had my eye on, but I guess I’m going to have to spend my own taxed income on that one.
I doubt that this kind of benefit is enough to encourage those who don’t commute by bike to start, but it does seem like it could be helpful for those who are already doing so.