Twenty years after its inception, the government announced today updated Cycle to Work Scheme guidance to remove the price cap on bike purchase, and m
Twenty years after its inception, the government announced today updated Cycle to Work Scheme guidance to remove the price cap on bike purchase, and make it easier than ever before for employers to provide staff with cycles and equipment including e-bikes worth over £1,000. The move issues in a new era for the Cycle to Work scheme that could help many more commuters turn to greener journeys using e-bikes.
In a positive move for the industry, it is anticipated the new guidance will:
- Enable more people than ever before to access the benefits of regularly cycling to work.
- Significantly increasing the health and wellbeing of individuals
- Further reduce the number of cars on the road, overall improving air quality in towns and city centres.
Whereas the previous guidance initially set in 1999 contained barriers to maximising take-up of the Scheme, such as a cap on the amount an employee could spend on a bike, the new guidance removes these barriers. As a result the scheme will be more inclusive than ever before, and particularly beneficial to those who need an electric or specially-adapted bike to get to work, including people with disabilities, lower-earners and those who live further from work, unable to walk or cycle long distances without assistance.
Julie Coxhill, product director for – providers of Cycle Scheme – the UK’s leading cycle scheme benefits package offers commentary on today’s announcement;
“Today’s announcement by the Department for Transport on the removal of the maximum spending cap is huge news for employees and employers alike. We believe it will take the cycle scheme into a whole new exciting phase and make bike ownership more attractive and accessible than ever to those hard to reach audiences.
“Bike prices have significantly increased since the scheme began, almost 20 years ago, meaning that many people cannot afford an adequate bike for their commute. Not only will this news be welcomed by existing cyclists, but it also opens up the scheme to those who may be disabled, disadvantaged or even those who are older – as suitable bikes for many of these groups are more expensive.
“Research has proven that cycling to work has a positive impact on mental / personal health as well as productivity – but by committing to cycle a few times a week could also mean less guilt free evenings when you’re too tired to go to the gym. If you’ve not cycled since childhood you can still take advantage of this scheme as ‘cycle to work’ does not always mean you have to cycle the entire distance – why not cycle to the station or from the bus stop into work to begin with – or even try an electronic bike, which is also perfect for longer commutes and it still gives you the option to cycle.”
Reward and Recognition Manger
University of Southampton
“Southampton University has operated a cycle to work scheme since 2010. We began using Cyclescheme in 2011 as it offered a much wider range of bikes.
“Since inception, the scheme has been received favourably from our staff with a healthy uptake rate year on year. This is by far one of our most popular benefits, so far we have issued around 1,350 vouchers – this is roughly 150-200 per year.” Is there any evidence that it has become more popular as the years have gone on?
“The University is based in an urban area of Southampton, and we have limited parking on campus. Offering cycling options is an essential way of encouraging people to change their mode of transport to ease congestion and traffic on site. We also have a staff and student body who are interested in green initiatives and sustainability and offering a cycle to work scheme supports this.”
“We’ve done some analysis on the uptake of our cycle to work scheme and the majority of our vouchers are issued to people living within three miles of our main campus – a perfect cycling distance for commuting, and one where we should be minimising car journeys. We think that the removal of the cap will mean that those living further distances can also take part in the scheme as it opens the bike options to e-bikes – for those less able, and for those who have a longer commute.”
“We find that around a fifth of our current cycle scheme applicants apply for vouchers at the full £1,000 limit. We think it’s likely that these people would apply for a higher value bike if this option was available to them, so we expect a fairly strong uptake of higher voucher values once they are available.”
At the same time, employees are also seeing the benefits.
Commutes from South London
He has been commuting in London for 15 years
He has previously bought two bikes through the Cycle to Work Scheme.
“My current commute is around 8.6m each way and I aim to do it at least three times a week. I began cycling to work because I lived in North London and the commute was awful. A colleague was cycling and I was inspired.
Over the years it has become part of my routine and as well as keeping me relatively fit, I look forward to the time cycling through the streets to unwind on the way home from a busy day.
Cycling can be the only alone time I have, and I genuinely prefer it than fighting my way onto a packed commuter train and tube – I even do the school run on my bike.
I’m lucky that the shower facilities at my place of employment has always been decent and I get in early, shower and am fresh for the day with a clear head.
I was very pleased to hear the news that I can now borrow more than £1000 tax free – I am definitely looking forward to upgrading my current bike in the coming months.”