Sunday, April 19, 2009

Dutch bikes and bike commuter benefit in NYT

The classic Dutch bicycle is featured in an article in the New York Times, Riding the It Factor. As bicycling becomes more popular in New York City and elsewhere, more people are using bicycles for transportation, without the need for special bike clothes. In the Netherlands, bikes are a regular transportation option for people, most of whom ride simple, upright bikes with fenders and chain guards that protect their clothes.
The Great Downturn may have its first real status symbol. It has plenty in common with recent extravagances. Like the Range Rover or the Sub-Zero fridge, it has a solid frame designed for function. Like a Louis Vuitton trunk, it has a chic design and a patina of history stretching back to the 19th century. And like a bottle of San Pellegrino, it evokes that genteel way of life that Europeans are always going on about. This new It object is the glossy black Dutch bicycle, its design unchanged since World War II.
The second article, Biking Has Its (Tax) Benefits. Or Does It?, describes some of the problems with the Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit. The main problem is that cyclists are not able to combine the public transit benefit with the bike benefit ($20/month), so most choose the transit benefit. In a place like New York City many cyclists combine public transportation with their bike commute. As we noted in an earlier post, Congressman Blumenauer's Multi-Modal Commuter Transit Bill will allow cyclists to use both benefits when applicable.

As we mentioned earlier, Accor services "began offering a bicycle commuter check to employers only last month", although only to companies with fewer than 50 employees.
Next week, on Earth Day, the company plans to announce that it will be setting up its Commuter Check program for participating medium sized companies — those with as many as 5,000 employees.

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