The decision to incorporate a new, higher maximum for cargo bikes in the updated Bike to Work Scheme has been welcomed by Irish Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan.

The Department of Transportation requested a significant new increase to a €3,000 cap in order to promote wider use of cargo bikes. The price of cargo bikes is significantly more than that of ordinary cycles or e-bikes, both of which had their Bike to Work program restrictions raised for 2020.

Prior to this change, anyone wishing to purchase a cargo bike was only able to do so within the limits that were set for bicycles (€1,250) and electric assist bicycles (€1,500). Now. the cap for cargo bikes has doubled to €3,000, regardless of whether they are electrically assisted or not.

The Bike to Work Scheme seeks to promote cycling for transportation to and from work. The program enables workers to contribute a portion of their pay toward a bicycle and/or safety gear that will be largely used for commuting to and from work. The purchase can be made in any store and is not a taxable benefit-in-kind.

Deputy Minister Ryan said:
“This increase will help make cargo bikes more affordable for those choosing to purchase a new bike under the bike to work scheme. Cargo bikes have become more popular in recent years with many people using them to bring their kids to school, for shopping and for work purposes as delivery vehicles. The cost factor, however, is an impediment to many people who may want to buy one. We hope that by increasing the limits for cargo bikes, more people will be able to choose them as a more sustainable way to get around.

“We also need to see our courier and delivery companies moving at a faster pace from vans and trucks to cargo bikes and we are looking at ways of supporting this transformation, specifically for the last mile element of their deliveries.

“The coming years will see a re-allocation of road space away from private vehicles towards public transport and space for people walking and cycling and cargo bikes will play a large part in how we use our roads. I look forward to seeing many more cargo bikes on our roads over the coming years, helped by this decision today to make them more affordable.”

He claimed that many people’s experiences with using their cars for extremely brief trips to drop off their children at school promoted the Department of Transportation’s decision to raise the restriction as people frequently use their car to get to work from there; if they could transport the kids by bike, they might think about cycling the entire distance. People now have the option to travel on various trips that would often require a vehicle thanks to cargo bikes.

Other options for increasing the number of cargo bikes are being looked into by the Department of Transportation. In order for parents to test-drive Cargo Bikes and other family bikes and be sure they would use it before investing, the National Transport Authority is also considering testing the Bicycle Library concept at a number of schools in the upcoming year.