Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has welcomed the decision to include a new higher limit for Cargo Bikes in the revised Bike to Work Scheme announced today as part of the Finance Bill.
The substantial new increase to a €3,000 limit was sought by the Department of Transport to encourage greater use of cargo bikes. Cargo bikes cost substantially more than regular bikes or e-bikes, both of which saw increases in the limits applicable for the Bike to Work scheme in 2020.
Previously anyone looking to purchase a Cargo Bike could only avail of the limits which were available for bicycles (€1,250) and electric assist bicycles (€1,500). However, today’s announcement sees the limit for Cargo Bikes double to €3,000, whether electrically assisted or regular cargo bikes.
The Bike to Work Scheme aims to encourage the public to cycle to and from work. The initiative allows employees to give part of their salary for a bicycle and/or safety equipment, which should be used primarily for journeying to and from work. The purchase is not taxable benefit-in-kind and can be made in any shop.
Minister Ryan stated:
"This increase will help make cargo bikes more affordable for those choosing to purchase a new bike under the bike to work scheme. Cargo bikes have become more popular in recent years with many people using them to bring their kids to school, for shopping and for work purposes as delivery vehicles. The cost factor, however, is an impediment to many people who may want to buy one. We hope that by increasing the limits for cargo bikes, more people will be able to choose them as a more sustainable way to get around.
"We also need to see our courier and delivery companies moving at a faster pace from vans and trucks to cargo bikes and we are looking at ways of supporting this transformation, specifically for the last mile element of their deliveries.
"The coming years will see a re-allocation of road space away from private vehicles towards public transport and space for people walking and cycling and cargo bikes will play a large part in how we use our roads. I look forward to seeing many more cargo bikes on our roads over the coming years, helped by this decision today to make them more affordable.”
He said that the Department of Transport’s move to increase the limit was informed by the experience of many people who have said that they may use their car to make very short journeys to drop their kids to school. They then often continue their journey to work by car where they might consider cycling the entire route if they were able to transport the kids by bike. Cargo bikes mean that people can make many journeys that might otherwise take place by car.
The Department of Transport is also examining other ways to increase the number of cargo bikes. In addition, the National Transport Authority is looking at trialling the Bicycle Library concept at a number of schools in the coming year, so that parents can experience using Cargo Bikes and other family bikes and be confident that they would use it before investing.
The Bike to Work scheme was introduced in 2009. It was first amended in July 2020 when the original €1,000 limit was increased to €1,250 for bicycles and €1,500 for electric assist bicycles. Those limits could also be used for Cargo Bikes, today’s proposed change increases the limit for Cargo Bikes only to €3,000 whether electrically assisted or regular.
Following today’s announcement, there are now 3 limits, depending on the type of bicycle purchased, under the Bike to Work Scheme:
for cargo bikes and safety equipment, the limit is €3,000
for pedelecs or ebikes and related safety equipment the limit is €1,500
for other bicycles and related safety equipment the limit is now €1,250