Bike commuter legislation update

When the U.S. House of Representatives recently passed the landmark energy legislation about two weeks ago, they also included the bike commuter tax benefit. The Commuter Benefit for bicyclists amends the IRS code to include “bicycles” in the definition of transportation covered by fringe benefits so that employers can receive a tax benefit to provide $20 per month in incentives to employees who bike to work. This would be under the same program by which employers provide transportation benefits such as Commuter Checks and EcoPass programs for public transit.

The House and Senate are now meeting to reconcile the differences between the House and Senate versions of the Energy Bill. Contact your U.S. Senator and ask them to support inclusion of Bike Commuter benefits in Senate Bill 1419, the “Renewable Fuels, Consumer Protection, and Energy Efficiency Act of 2007.”

In other bike commuter news, the California Complete Streets Bill (AB1358) has passed its Assembly Vote and is now making its way through the Senate. This bill is the highest legislative priority for the California Bicycle Coalition and has been endorsed by several California bike advocacy organizations. For more information, visit the California Bicycle Coalition legislation information page.

AB 1358 requires the legislative body of a city or county, upon revision of the circulation element of their general plan, to identify how the jurisdiction will provide for the routine accommodation of all users of the roadway including motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, individuals with disabilities, seniors, and public transportation. The bill also directs the Office of Planning and Research to amend guidelines for the development of general plan circulation elements so that the building and operation of local transportation facilities safely and conveniently accommodate everyone, regardless of their mode of travel.

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