By Charles Pekow
Remember when it was possible to get a tax break for riding your bike to work? Probably not, but until last year, it was legal to get a tax-free reimbursement of up to $20/month for the costs of biking to work (parking, tune-ups, fixing flats, etc.). But your employer had to offer the benefit and few did. But the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which gave billions in benefits to large corporations, took away the bike benefit as of 2018 for the few who could take advantage of it.
But now Representative and long-time bicycle champion Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) has introduced legislation that would not only restart but would expand the benefit. The Bicycle Commuter Act of 2019 (H.R. 1507) would switch it from a reimbursement to a pre-tax benefit and clarify that it would apply to electric bicycle and bikeshare users.
Users would have to ride regularly either to their place of employment or to/from a public transit stop on their way to work. The bill picked up 11 cosponsors, including Gwen Moore (D-ID), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and the most famous new member of the House, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY). The bill was referred to the Ways & Means Committee on March 5, 2019, where it still sits.