Ireland has however struggled to encourage cycling, at least compared to its European counterparts. It was therefore a major objective of the Irish Green Party in Government to increase cycling rates, especially as a means of curbing Ireland’s disproportionate reliance on imported fossil fuels.
To achieve this, the Greens in Government introduce a massively successful “cycle-to-work” scheme. This was a voucher scheme implemented by employers, whereby employees received a tax break on cycling equipment (to a value of €1,000) with the employee being able to pay back the cost over an extended period. The tax breaks involved meant that employees could make savings of between 31% and 52% on the total cost.
The scheme was introduced along with other important measures, such as allowing cyclists to bring bikes on public transport and introducing lower speed limits in urban areas. The overall effect was to increase the number of cyclists in Ireland, with the Government now having the objective of increasing cycle rates to 10% by 2020.