Belgium has been providing tax/monetary benefits to those who bicycle to work, rather than drive, for quite some time now — with the program apparently even paying out around €93 million in 2015 (to around 400,000 program participants).
Previously, this program had been available to all users of pedal-powered bicycles and to users of electric bicycles that are speed-limited to under 25 kilometers an hour. Now, a new law makes the program open to all users of electric bicycles that travel at up to 45 kilometers an hour (~28 miles per hour). Anything faster still isn’t eligible.
The Finance Minister of Belgium, Johan Van Overtveldt, was quoted as saying: “We want to encourage cycling for commutes for obvious reasons, notwithstanding the type of bicycle used.”
A sensible thing — though, it’s interesting that electric bicycles that can travel faster than 45 kilometers an hour are apparently still not eligible for program participation. I guess authorities don’t want to encourage the use of electric bicycles that travel so fast that they make other bicyclists uncomfortable? Are any of the Belgians reading this able to provide any insight on the matter?
Reuters provides a bit more background on the news and the program: “Employers in Belgium can currently reward staff if they come to work on a bicycle, paying them for every kilometer they cycle, in an effort to promote environmentalism and a healthier lifestyle. Commuters can get €0.23 ($0.26) per km cycled between their home and their place of work.”
In related news, see: France Now Offering €200 State Subsidy For Electric Bicycles.
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