Welcoming the pledge by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny to extend the successful ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme, Michael Dawson, founder of One4all called on the Government to extend the initiative to a ‘Cycle To School’ campaign and keep Ireland moving.
Speaking today at the Dublin Business School/Lidl Annual Retail Conference, Mr. Dawson said:
“We know that since the introduction of the Cycle To Work Scheme countless jobs have been created as thousands more people have invested in new bicycles. There is now a real opportunity for Ireland to set the benchmark in youth cycling by extending the initiative to schools. Such a move would support the health of our children and the wallets of parents while also boosting employment in the retail sector.”
Cycle To School would be a simple extension of an already established initiative and would give parents an incentive to get their children onto two wheels. Since the Cycle to Work scheme was launched in 2009 One4all has issued 20,000 Bikes4work vouchers and over 2,000 companies are signed up to this scheme. With this mechanism bicycles and safety equipment can be purchased from hundreds of bike retailers nationwide, tax-free up to the value of €1,000. The bike and safety equipment can then be paid for over a maximum 12 month period resulting in savings of 31% – 52% off the original retail price.
According to recent figures from Cycling Ireland, memberships to cycling clubs have almost quadrupled from 5,000 in 2008 to 19,300 in 2013. There are now 350 registered cycling clubs in Ireland compared to zero in 2011 and the number of approved cycling events has also risen from 350 in 2008 to 950 in 2013. Reflecting this surge in popularity, there are now 395 bike retailers in Ireland versus 260 in 2011.
This Cycle to Work scheme, launched in 2009, has seen tens of thousands of people avail of the tax incentive and start cycling to work. At the same time Ireland’s success in cycling on the world stage with cyclists such as Martyn Irvine has also helped place cycling on Ireland’s sporting agenda as has the government’s €7 million investment in cycle routes since 2012. With plans for an additional 334 kilometres of cycleway by the end of 2014, the scope to extend the scheme has never been better.
To find out more about the One4all Bikes4work scheme, visit www.bikes4work.ie