Bicycle Commuter Act in the News

Several folks have written to us asking why Bikecommuters.com hasn’t offered any coverage of the recently-passed Bicycle Commuter Act, which was a last-minute addition to the $700 billion bailout package approved by the U.S. Government.

Well, here’s why: because it’s been covered at length almost everywhere else…and in a lot of cases, mere minutes after the measure was approved. To get an idea of the wide coverage of this news, check out Paul Dorn’s Bike Commute Tips blog, where he has a link list at the bottom of his writeup of it. Heck, even Rush Limbaugh covered it on his website!!! You’ll have to find the link for that on your own, though.

Frankly, the staff at Bikecommuters.com doesn’t have anything worthwhile to add to the discussion. In the first days after this news broke, I frantically scoured the Web looking for “cheat sheets” to guide commuters in applying for such benefits, only to discover that it is in employers’ hands. In any case, we’re certainly hopeful employers choose to offer this incentive to their bike-commuting employees, and we strongly urge such employees to ask their employers to provide this benefit.

But, we’d like to hear from you: what do you think about the passing of this piece of legislation? Is it too little, too late? Any word on whether your employer(s) will extend this benefit to you? For me, I’m excited that this bit passed, but I’m a little sad to see it was tacked onto the bailout package.


19 Comments

  1. LJ October 12, 2008 9:15 am 

    I think it’s great that bike commuters are getting a benefit that bus commuters have gotten for years.

    I think it stinks that we got it as pork.

  2. Tim October 12, 2008 9:37 am 

    Encouraging bicycling is great but this looks like a pretty inefficient way to do it. I would guess it will cost small companies 2 times the amount given to the the commuter just to administer the program. I would have preferred a hike in the gas tax with a corresponding reduction in income tax for all.

  3. Drew October 12, 2008 11:10 am 

    I appreciate any opportunity offered to repossess my hard earned money. However, I also detest the manner in which these incentives were tacked on to this bit of thievery. Yet another example of why the whole lot who pushed and voted for this bailout should be voted out of office. Washington D.C. needs an enema. I wish that more people would awaken to the realization that who (which party) occupies the White House is the least of our problems.

  4. FauxPorteur October 12, 2008 7:20 pm 

    Just so you guys are aware, Earl Blumenaur (D) Oregon was one of the people that drafted this fringe benefit known as the Bicycle Commuter Act. He’s been fighting for it for years. He voted “no” on the first draft of the bailout package so they added the BCA to the package to try to swing his vote. He voted “no” the second time since the package wasn’t changed in significant ways.

  5. Ghost Rider October 12, 2008 8:15 pm 

    Interesting…the assumption is that this piece was added in to win Blumenaur’s vote (among others). Glad to hear that wasn’t true, if I’m understanding you correctly.

  6. FauxPorteur October 12, 2008 10:03 pm 

    Blumenauer voted “no” in round one, so “they” tried to bribe him with one of his own pet bills, he didn’t take the bait and voted “no” again in round two. He voted against his own bill because he believed the whole package was a bad deal and wanted his bill to be able to stand on its own, as it should.

  7. 2whls3spds October 13, 2008 1:22 am 

    It does set a precedent for bicycles as “real” transportation, however the way it was done and why it was done is typical DC. It was nothing but an out and out attempt to buy a vote. Welcome to the best politicians that money can buy. However I do give credit to Blumenauer for standing by his vote.

    Aaron

  8. The Punisher October 13, 2008 3:11 am 

    Ghost Rider, I expect you’ll use your great powers of influence over the Mayor to make sure she offers said tax benefit to all city employees. You pickup what I’m laying down amigo?

  9. Iron Man October 13, 2008 6:13 am 

    I work for a non-profit so I’m out of luck on that one. Although my company does offer a health benefit. If I exercise so many hours a week I get $40 a month. So at least my biking qualifies me for that. I’m not sure if our insurance provider or my company springs for it.

  10. Ghost Rider October 13, 2008 6:41 am 

    Punisher, I’ll talk to the Mayor, which will help YOU out…but since I’m county (not city), I’ll have to take my case all the way to the BOCC to take advantage of this benefit. In other words, it ain’t gonna happen for me!

  11. Tony Bullard October 13, 2008 7:41 am 

    My boss says if I can figure out how to get it going, he’ll do it, but he’s not paying his accountant 200 bucks an hour just to get me 20 bucks a month. (no one else at my work rides. )

  12. Crazy Commuting Cyclist October 13, 2008 8:14 am 

    The day the bill was passed I brought up the sections of the bill to my employer. They were interested and asked me to do more research on programs that other employers have done. The following week I started to research and found cycling programs that other companies use for their employees. I also found a website that drew up a way to purpose a program to your employer. I tailored it to our employer and last Thursday I presented the proposal to the VP of Human Resources.
    I have to admit most of the management that I have shown this to are very impressed and believe it is a good idea. I guess we will see were it goes from here.
    Keep you posted

  13. Griffin October 13, 2008 8:48 am 

    I suspect the reason why people expected you to cover the law wasn’t because we thought you may have something to add – but rather because we rely on you as the source of news & information for bike commuter related topics.

    A short blurb stating it was passed, with a link to the details, would have sufficed…

    Perhaps there is a disconnect between the goal of this site in the eyes of the writers vs the eyes of the readers? I notice the “about” section doesn’t indicate the purpose of this site nor your goals, but instead just has a bunch of biographies… Is this less “bike commuters” informational website and more just a blog about a bunch of bike commuters and random bike commuter semi-related stuff?

  14. Griffin October 13, 2008 8:50 am 

    I should mention that your site is very interesting and a must read for me every morning – but perhaps focusing or clarifying your goal for the readership would avoid future confusion. If it is just a blog about random bike commuting semi-related stuff it still is damned interesting!

  15. Orbix October 13, 2008 9:08 am 

    CrazyCommutingCyclist, would you please share the site you found with employer proposal recommendations? I’m considering bringing this up with my employer, but would love to see what others are doing/have done with success.

  16. Ghost Rider October 13, 2008 9:17 am 

    @Crazy… WHO found those links? 😉

    @Griffin, please allow me to clarify: as much as we’d love to believe that our readers rely on us as the sole source of commuting news, nothing could be further from the truth. Our visitors are pretty voracious readers (I see them posting all over the Web); therefore, if a bunch of other regularly-visited sites have covered something at length, we’d just be wasting our readers’ time if we regurgitated information and had nothing additional to add to the conversation. Personally, I try to think of it in journalistic terms: if I’ve been “scooped”, well then I’ve just got to find something else to write about!

    And our goal for this site IS twofold: it is a great source for commuting news, advocacy and product reviews, but it is also “about a bunch of bike commuters and random bike commuter semi-related stuff”. Is there something wrong with that?!? I hope not: straight news is boring…and it’s being done by plenty of other folks.

    We strive to put a human face on bicycle commuters — by publishing commuter profiles, by sharing our personal experiences and thoughts, by enjoying bicycling and spreading the word about the many ways a bicycle can be incorporated into one’s life. And I think we do a pretty damn good job at blending those two facets….

  17. Crazy Commuting Cyclist October 13, 2008 11:03 am 

    here is the link
    http://www.sfbike.org/?employers

    Ghost Rider: I found this link on google but I am sure this link is out there in blogs like your. Either way I hope this help. (don’t want or need the credit just want to pass on info and help out when I can)

  18. Ghost Rider October 13, 2008 11:28 am 

    Dave, that’s an excellent resource you found there!

  19. Bagels October 16, 2008 2:43 pm 

    What if more companies did something like this?

    http://www.startcommutingbybike.com

    I really do think the bike industry could bend a little and offer programs that allow people to use the bill a bit better.

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