The bicycle plan scheme is a scheme whereby an employee can save on the costs of a bicycle through his employer. He can then buy a bicycle with a tax advantage to cycle to work. This makes the bicycle cheaper. Since there are of course all kinds of rules and conditions attached to it, this arrangement not only has advantages but also disadvantages. In addition to many advantages, this article also mentions a number of disadvantages. Then you can make a good decision.
Benefits of the national bicycle plan
Cheaper due to tax benefits
Of course the tax benefit it provides! If you need a bicycle and are going to use it for work, it is better to do so via the bicycle plan. The costs of the bicycle are deducted from your gross salary, so you do not have to pay tax on that part of your salary.
Rule: once every 3 years
You can participate in the bicycle plan a maximum of once every 3 years. If you consider that a bicycle generally lasts much longer, you can imagine that this is very common.
Better for the environment
It is common knowledge that cycling is better for the environment than driving a car or public transport. Various studies have shown that many commutes by car are around 10 kilometers or shorter. In principle, these are easy to do by bicycle.
Also cycle for private use
In the Netherlands, almost every family member has a bicycle. You are free to use the bicycle, purchased through a bicycle plan, for other purposes, such as privately in your free time. This means you do not have to purchase a second bicycle.
Good for physical health
Many studies and research have shown that a certain amount of exercise per day is healthy. Muscle strength, endurance, blood circulation, but also the general immune system are increased. By cycling to work you quickly meet this healthy lifestyle and you do not have to do extra running or go to an expensive fitness school, for example.
Better for mental health compared to driving a car
Many people also experience cycling as a nice outlet to forget about the worries of the working day. In general, you have to be less alert and concentrated on a bicycle than in a car, which means you can relax more easily and better than when you are in the car and you are annoyed by all the other road users. Exercise often also ensures that people can relax better afterwards, so there is a greater chance that you will come home less stressed after work.
Avoiding traffic jams
One thing is certain: the chance that you will get stuck in a traffic jam while cycling is very unlikely. If you spend a fixed amount of travel time every day standing still in traffic jams, you will at least get this time back when you go cycling. Especially in the Randstad, there are relatively many people who only have to drive a short distance, but who still spend a long time in a traffic jam. Nowadays more and more bicycle highways are being constructed. These are well-lit, beautifully flat and often wide cycle paths that, through bridges and tunnels, ensure that people can cycle continuously without traffic lights and intersections that many people view negatively.
Disadvantages of the national bicycle plan
Tax benefit stops after termination of temporary contract or dismissal
With the bicycle plan scheme, you buy the bicycle through your boss, who then deducts this from your gross salary. In most cases this is spread over 12 months, but can even be spread over 3 years. If you suddenly resign or resign, you often have to pay the remaining amount in one lump sum and without the tax benefit. So you end up paying the full amount for the bicycle.
Rule: no offer price for bicycles
The bicycle plan only applies to the normal price of a bicycle, not to the offer price. This means your choice is somewhat more limited. It is also wise to always ask whether the store is affiliated with the bicycle plan. It may be that the bicycle plan regulations, in which your company participates in the bicycle plan, determine where the bicycle can be purchased.
Rule: at least half the time on the bike
If you want to participate in the bicycle plan, according to the rules you will have to use this bicycle at least half of the time to go to work. It does not matter whether you cycle the entire route, you are also allowed to go to the carpool place, as long as you only cycle half the time. There may not be strict controls on this, but keep this in mind. So if you regularly go by car to pick up your children, or because it is raining again, think again.
In practice: it is more difficult to do something else based on your work
In some cases the car trip is combined with another purpose. For example, there are parents who first drop the children off at school, or pick them up and drop them off during the afternoon. This is of course often not possible when cycling. People also combine commuting with a visit to family or do the weekly shopping straight from work.
When you have to take a lot of stuff with you for work
You cannot cycle if, for example, you are bringing piles of work home. A laptop is often fine, but it is often inconvenient when many files need to be taken with you.
Public transport or riding together can be more fun
Some people don’t like traveling and cycling alone. They are used to carpooling with a colleague or riding with someone from the street, for example. For some people, public transport is also a place where they meet and talk to people. This is less the case on a bicycle, although it is of course possible to cycle together.
For some people, cycling a bit every day can also lead to adverse physical comforts. For example, cycling can possibly lead to wear and tear on certain joints, but in practice it appears that this does not apply to most people.
Bad cycle paths and roads
In principle, cycling the same section every day does not have to be a problem, but it is a lot less attractive if there are large stretches of bad road surfaces or if you have to use the carriageway on a dangerous road. Crossing dangerous roads is of course also not conducive, especially in the busy morning rush hours in the Netherlands.
Weak position in traffic
Legally, you as a cyclist are well protected in traffic. In general, the cyclist is almost never at fault when involved in a collision. But of course that does not alter the fact that the possible injuries from the collision often have immediate physical consequences. This includes broken bones and other injuries.
- The National Cycling Plan