SD Worx: ‘One-third fewer cycling commuters in 2021’
This year, the number of commuters with a bicycle compensation decreased from 22% to 14% compared to last year (2020) and pre-corona (2019). The decline is most striking among employees who often were forced to work from home. The number of workers increased slightly. The figures were revealed by the largest, Belgian, human resources service provider, SD Worx.
The number of cycling commuters with a specific bicycle compensation has been gradually growing over the last few years. Cycling is most popular in the summer season. 2020 started as a strong ‘bicycle year’ but figures went down, and the same tendency went on in 2021. The number of cyclists with compensation decreased by one-third.
“Women cycle more,” explains Veerle Michiels, mobility expert at SD Worx, “but men cover longer distances, so their compensation usually is higher.” The median amount per cyclist per year went up from €73,92 in 2019 to €91,20 in 2020 and declined again to €76,80 in the first eight months of 2021.
Employers are free to offer their workforce bicycle compensation; there’s no legal obligation, except for the social service sector. Bicycle compensation is free of taxes as long as it doesn’t exceed 0,24 euros per pedaled kilometer.
Bicycle compensation is most popular in the province of East Flanders, but the strongest decline is visible in Brussels (from 11,8% in 2019 to 6,7% in 2021), and Flemish Brabant (from 18,5% to 8,7% in 2021).
“We usually see a decline as winter approaches,” says Michiels. The Belgian weather influences these figures, but, according to the mobility expert, Covid-19 is still a factor of uncertainty. The formula, however, is far less successful in Wallonia.
The SD Worx survey was held among 620 000 employees in 21 000 companies. Participants were 72% employees and 28% workers.