Company bicycles

Company-leased bikes are gaining in popularity

Zwei statt vier Räder: Anstatt sich für die Fahrt zum Arbeitsplatz ins Auto zu setzen, benutzen immer mehr Beschäftigte inzwischen ein geleastes Fahrrad – zum Beispiel ein E-Bike.

Leased company bicycles are gaining in popularity.

Bonn/Stuttgart. More and more people are riding to work on bicycles leased from employers. In three years, the number at Deutsche Telekom has increased tenfold. There are benefits for both employer and employee.

Young Robert Bosch was proud of his company bicycle.  On his business card, he even had a photograph of himself from 1890 with his hands on the handlebars of his brand new bike.  Nearly 130 years later, the company is back on the road again with bicycles for employees.  Since February, around 100,000 Bosch employees throughout Germany have been able to lease bicycles, pedelecs and e-bikes cheaply through the company.

Bosch is not alone with this offer for its employees. Employees of Deutsche Telekom, DHL, Rewe, Deutsche Bahn and other companies have also been biking to work for a long time with company-leased bikes.  Estimates from Ulrich Prediger, founder of JobRad which leases bikes, say there are around 200,000 leased company bicycles in service nationwide. 

In 2012, German tax authorities extended tax benefits enjoyed by cars to bicycles, pedelecs and e-bikes as well.  This means employees get expensive bicycles for a much cheaper rate.  The employer leases the bike, and the lease fee becomes part of the employee gross income.  Because this reduces the taxable income, both employers and employees pay less in taxes.  At the end of the lease, the employees have the opportunity to purchase the bike for a reasonable price.

The offer normally doesn’t cost the businesses anything, except the administrative costs of organizing it.  This is where leasing companies such as JobRad, Munich-based Company Bike Solutions or Cologne-based Eurorad come into play.  They organize leasing via online portals, bring customers together with bicycle dealers and offer services such as insurance and inspections.

Since 2015, Deutsche Telekom has been offering its employees company bikes. After the Bonn-based company initially provided 350 bicycles for the start of a pilot project, the number has since increased tenfold. "The offer is received very positively," says Telekom spokesman Peter Kespohl. Especially with regard to the traffic situation in Bonn, the bike is a good alternative to the car. "We are happy about everyone we get on the bike," says Kespohl.

DHL has an offer still under development:  Since November last year, it has been offering employees the use of a company bike.  It promises "to promote the health of employees and at the same time to provide an environmentally friendly, alternative means of transport for the way to work," spokeswoman Heike Meyer.

At Bosch, part of the deal is making employees familiar with their own products.  Among other things, the company produces batteries and on-board computers for e-bikes and pedelecs. 

(Orig. text: Alexia Angelopoulou, Matthias Kirch. Translation: ck)