The Cycle to Work (C2W) scheme is saving commuters at least £37 million a year before rail fare savings, according to a conservative average by scheme provider Cycle Solutions.
Over the past five years, 809,812 C2W vouchers have been issued to UK employees..
The employee benefit, which is offered by tens of thousands of UK employers, lets workers obtain bicycles, cycling kit, and accessories such as lights and locks up to the value of £1,000, completely tax-free.
The savings are 32% for basic-rate taxpayers and 42% for higher-rate taxpayers, with some C2W scheme providers also offering further discounts.
Data shows the average employee that uses the scheme will buy bikes and commuter gear worth £717.56, but will only pay back, through a 12-month salary sacrifice, £488, saving them £230. This is based on an employee on basic-rate.
According to Cycle Solutions’ data, the top three best selling bicycles on the C2W scheme are currently:
Steve Edgell, director of Cycle Solutions, said: “There’s increasing concern about what our sedentary lifestyles are doing to us, physically and mentally. Commuting actively is a powerful way to combat this, with significant health and financial benefits. Cycling gets people fit while saving them money on travel, and sparing them from the rush hour crush on public transport. Couple that with big savings from the C2W scheme and employees really are quids in.
“Over the past two decades the scheme has been more popular with men, but we know that electric bikes are often more popular among women. As e-bikes continue to drop in price and become more accessible within the £1,000 limit, we expect to see greater diversity in who takes up the scheme.
“The key to the continued success of Cycle to Work over the next 20 years depends on cycling becoming cultural; right now it’s still seen as a sport in the UK, rather than a convenient mode of transport. We also need to invest more in infrastructure to make the roads safer for cyclists, employers need to more aggressively promote and reward green travel to staff, and e-bikes need to be made more accessible through the scheme.”