The Netherlands Pays Residents to Ride Their Bikes To Work
In a very on-brand development, the Netherlands is moving forward with a $390 million investment aimed to inspire more Dutch citizens to commute by bicycle.
The country, in which bicycles outnumber residents by approximately 6 million, already has been rewarding cyclists with tax credits of $0.22 per kilometer. However, this benefit is relatively unknown and offered by few Dutch employers, according to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. Ministry secretary Stientje van Veldhoven claims that more than half of people living in the Netherlands have a daily commute from work that can be "easily covered by bike," with more than 50% of commuters' car trips falling just below 7.5 kilometers (about 4.6 miles) long.
The investment will cover the development of 15 new routes into newly minted "cyclist freeways," the addition of 25,000 more bike parking spaces, and upgrades to more than 60 bike storage facilities. The ultimate goal is to get 200,000 more commuters traveling by bike in the next three years.
As for paying people to cycle? The Dutch government plans on raising awareness of the $0.22 tax benefit for employers and residents. They also plan on pushing companies to provide better facilities for commuting bikers such as showers at the office, for example. And, unfortunately, this isn't a benefit that a tourist can take advantage of yet -- as the $0.22 is paid to residents via tax.