In Europe, Biking to Work Pays

Stateside, the trend has yet to catch on

Bike to work so cool

In France, doing this to work could soon make you money.     Photo: DragonImages/Getty Images

Getting paid on your way to work might sound too good to be true, but it's an increasingly popular scheme in Europe—if you commute via bike.

Already, employers in Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands reward their employees for every kilometer and mile pedaled to the office. Some French workers could soon receive the same benefit under a new plan proposed last week by the country's transportation minister, Frédéric Cuvillier. A measure aimed at boosting bike usage in France would reimburse employees between 21 and 25 centimes per kilometer (roughly 29 to 35 U.S. cents).

Pedaling commuters are being paid 20 euro cents (29 U.S. cents) per kilometer in Belgium, 15 cents in the Netherlands, and 20 pence (32 U.S. cents) in Britain per mile, according to Reuters.

In the United States, compensating bike commuters has yet to gain the traction that it has in Europe. According to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2011 American Community Survey, only 777,000 Americans rode a bicycle as their primary means of traveling to work in 2011.

Since 2009, the IRS added a bicycle commuting reimbursement benefit to the books that allows employers to reimburse bike commuters up to $20 per month for flat tires and other expenses.

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