Meanwhile, good news for those who entirely eschew the internal combustion engine: If a representative from Oregon gets his way, people who commute to work by bike will soon get a tax break. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), founder and chair of the bipartisan Congressional Bike Caucus, has biked to his Capitol Hill office for years; he is now pushing for cyclists to get the same benefits as those who drive or use mass transit to get to work. Under current law, employers can offer a commuter tax-exemption benefit of $180 for qualified parking plans or $100 for public transit and van-pool expenses. Blumenauer’s Bike Commuter Act, co-sponsored by Rep. Mark Foley (R-Fla.), would offer similar benefits to cyclists. The act has been proposed before, but Blumenauer says that this year, with war in Iraq and soaring gas prices, support for cycling is gaining momentum. Almost 1 million U.S. workers cycle to work regularly, making bicycles second only to cars as the preferred mode of commuting, according to statistics from bike advocates and the federal government. Do you bike to work? Or do you get road rage when lycra-clad cyclists zip past you in traffic? Share your thoughts in The Gristmill, our online discussion forum, only on the Grist Magazine website.
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