The National Institutes of Health (NIH) spent $27,500 providing subsidies to its employees who bike to work as part of an effort to reduce the agency’s carbon footprint.
Since 2011, the agency has offered $20 subsidies that can be redeemed at local bike shops for employees who pledge to be a “zero-polluter bicycle commuter.” The NIH also has an employee-sponsored bike club that encourages its members to use a database to report drivers who are “hostile to cyclists.”
“These commuters are essential in assisting NIH in becoming a healthier, greener workplace as well as reducing traffic congestion near their workplaces,” the NIH said.
The NIH has the most bicyclists of any federal agency in the D.C. area and has taken advantage of a fringe transportation benefit written into the Internal Revenue Code that allows government agencies to provide subsidies for bikers.
“The NIH has had a robust bicycling community with as many as 400-500 bicyclists commuting during ideal weather and many diehard bicyclists who commute in any kind of weather,” Brad Moss, communications director of the Office of Research Services at the NIH told the Washington Free Beacon. “The benefits of bicycling are well documented and NIH believes this is an important alternative transportation mechanism.”