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Bicycle Commuting Benefits

No, the title isn’t referring to the health benefits (or time savings) of riding a bike. Did you know that if you commute to work by bike you can be reimbursed for any expenses you incur, up to $240 a year? Thanks to the Bicycle Commuter Act of 2008 (part of the Emergency Economy Stability Act), employees can be reimbursed for “reasonable expenses” such as “purchase of a bicycle, bicycle improvements, repairs, and storage for bicycles regularly used for  commuting to and from work.”

If you’re a Berklee person, here’s the form to submit your expenses.

bicycle_benefits

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For some reason, Berklee only reimburses $15/month, not $20. I don’t know where the other $5 is going—administrative costs? But that should be enough for me. I just submitted my first receipt last week—a $75 tune-up. I figure I do that about twice a year, so I should be reimbursed for all of my maintenance costs.

There are some limitations to the program. You can’t get both this and other forms of transportation reimbursement (such as public transit or parking) at the same time, so any month you claim one, you can’t claim the other. And there does seem to be some bicycle prejudice: unlike other commuter benefits, this isn’t deducted from pre-tax income, and it isn’t pegged to inflation. It also doesn’t allow as much as other commuter benefits (for instance, $245/month for a T pass), but to be fair, riding a bike is much cheaper.

If your employer isn’t offering this benefit yet, ask them why not? Maybe they’re just waiting for enough demand. It took our benefits administrator, Crosby, years to finally set this up, so yours might already be in the works.

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