Bicycle travel reimbursement?

business man on a bicycle

Does your employer or government agency offer reimbursement for work-related travel on a bicycle?

The agenda for the February 9, 2015 meeting of the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Agency Bicycle Advisory Committee (RTC BAC) contains this item:

… RTC staff [ recommend ] a policy allowing reimbursement of direct travel expenses to and from committee meetings and targeted outreach activities to encourage broad participation and fill committee member vacancies.

The Santa Cruz County RTC is considering travel reimbursements for their citizen advisory committee members to encourage greater citizen participation and help with committee recruitment. I was delighted to see bicycles mentioned as an “eligible transportation expense.”

Eligible transportation expenses include:

  • vehicle mileage at the IRS allowable rate
  • bicycle mileage at the Caltrans allowable rate
  • vehicle and bicycle parking while attending committee meetings
  • transit pass up to the cost of one day pass
  • paratransit service
  • taxi service, if other transportation options are not available

What is this “Caltrans allowable rate”? Google led me quickly to this Caltrans accounting information on private vehicle use for official business.

Caltrans travel reimbursement rates

Four cents per mile isn’t much. If I was a committee member, my three mile trip to the RTC office would get me 24 cents, so it’s not worth the time or paperwork to even ask for the reimbursement. Still, I appreciate the thought.

But then I looked around to what other employers and agencies pay. Corinna West looked up these numbers several years ago. Her data comes from 2008, but back then the city of Boulder, Colorado paid 42 cents per mile for bike transportation. The other examples she found are all in the UK, where various employers paid up to the equivalent of 40 cents per mile in 2008.

Do you know of other examples where business related travel on a bike is reimbursed?


  1. my employer gives me $20 a month for bicycle related expenses. I usually save them up and treat myself to something nice at a local bike shop.

  2. My employer gives me nothing but the reward we deserved,and every month i have to spend 100RMB on the bus since my living place is far from our company…

  3. For a while the IRS allowed a $20/month credit to bicyclists, administered by their employers, but I believe they did away with that recently. There is still a monthly credit allowable for parking expenses for drivers, but not many companies administer it. If I’m not mistaken the transit allowance was done away with with the bicycle commuter allowance. They are complicated rules so many employers don’t use them (which I suspect the IRS banks on).

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