Australians should be paid $5 every time they ride a bike to work under a new scheme proposed by Australia’s biggest bike riding organisation, Bicycle Network.
With the federal election set for 18 May, Bicycle Network is calling on all candidates and parties to commit to making it easier for more people to ride a bike to truly address the cost of living, congestion and health.
Research shows that for every kilometre cycled, society benefits up to $1.07. An average bike commute of around 10km contributes $10, but an average commute by car in Australia costs society up to $9.30.
Rewarding people who ride to work with a $5 bonus will encourage even more people to swap out cars for bikes. Keen bike commuters who ride every day could earn up to $1,100 a year, while also saving on car and petrol costs.
The Australian Automobile Association’s latest figures show that for an average Australian family, running a car costs more than $18,000 per year, whereas a bike costs less than $400.
Successful pay-to-ride tax schemes are already running in Italy, The Netherlands and the UK.
Bicycle Network CEO Craig Richards believes that a pay to ride to work scheme could be a game changer for bike riding in Australia.
“The growing cost of living is hurting everyday Australians. At the same time, we’re wasting our days stuck in traffic as congestion chokes our cities and economy,” Mr Richards said.
“By incentivising bike riding, we will save money, benefit entire communities and build a nation of happy and healthy Australians.
“Australians want to ride bikes and get active more than ever, but we need federal leaders to stand up and say that active, space efficient, sustainable transport is our future.
This is a perfect opportunity for electoral candidates to get themselves elected by doing something that will benefit Australians today and in the future."
Shifting just five per cent of short distance car trips to active transport could result in a reduction of between 20,000 and 50,000 motor vehicle trips per day on our roads.
Bicycle Network expects that the scheme won’t cost the federal government more than $500 million each year, and society overall will benefit by at least the same amount.
This amount is small compared to the recent $20 billion spent replacing F-18 hornets fighter jets and the long-term benefits are more wide-reaching into the community.
The pay-to-ride-to-work scheme is just one of the priorities outlined in Bicycle Network’s federal election policy paper which also includes an ongoing bike infrastructure fund, funding for a national Ride2School program, actions to address distracted driving and new national safety standards for heavy vehicles.Federal election policy paper
Want to see our pay-to-ride-to-work scheme become a reality?
With the election now called for Saturday 18 May, now's the perfect time to let your candidates know that you want to see a commitment for bikes and the people who ride them.
Together if we get enough members and friends contacting candidates then we can make a difference for bike riders.
Please take the time to share our federal election policy paper with your local candidates. Don't forget to cc' firstname.lastname@example.org.
Priorities for the federal election
When it comes to making it easier and safer for more Australians to ride bikes, we need strong federal leadership and investment across infrastructure and policy.
This election, Bicycle Network is calling for a number of commitments from the incoming government to accelerate bike riding growth across the nation.
The four main actions that the incoming government must deliver are:
- Build more places for people to ride by investing in a 492 million bike infrastructure fund.
- Get more Aussie’s active by funding a national Ride2School program and pay-to-ride-to-work scheme
- Protect people who ride by mandating safety upgrades for heavy vehicles and addressing distracted driving
- Ensure that national agendas, strategies and transport projects consider bikes and active transport.