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Government is geared up for cycle scheme

I AM concerned that your article on Monday, June 20, headlined "Bike to work scheme not being tracked by State" appears to suggest the Cycle to Work Scheme is not thought through or integrated into government policy.

The scheme was based on a similar scheme in the UK which has been running successfully for 10 years. It is an integral part of the Department of Transport's National Cycle Policy Framework. It also complements the similar Tax Saver relief for annual public-transport tickets.

Both of these are part of the wider Smarter Travel strategic vision which is to increase the number of commuters using sustainable travel modes by 20pc by 2020.

These practical and proven measures are vital if Ireland is to meet the binding targets as described in the National Climate Change Strategy 2007-2012. Finally, the Commission on Taxation reviewed the scheme in 2009 and recommended that it should continue due to the potential social and economic benefits.

Bike to Work Ltd recently completed research of employees who got bikes using its systems. Half of those who availed did not own a bike before signing up to the scheme. Interestingly, health reasons were the top motivation for cycling.

This highlights that the benefits of the scheme to the health sector are even greater than the transport benefits. In a commendable example of joined-up government, the HSE is also now actively promoting cycling and the Cycle to Work Scheme with its getirelandactive.ie campaign.

James Leahy
Director, Bike to Work Ltd

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