Actions Needed To Increase Bicycle/Moped Use in the Federal Community

EMD-81-41: Published: Jan 19, 1981. Publicly Released: Jan 19, 1981.

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GAO conducted a study to determine what needs to be done to encourage greater use of bicycles and other two-wheeled vehicles in the Federal community and to assess the proposal to reimburse those who use these vehicles for official travel.

If Government employees and those visiting Federal buildings and facilities are to increase bicycle or moped usage, existing barriers must be dealt with, and the Government's role must be clearly defined. Major governmental departments should set the example by identifying opportunities for, and encouraging greater use of bicycles or mopeds within their departments. Fears for personal safety, lack of facilities, unresolved legal issues, and attitudes bar bicycle usage. Decreasing the fear of riding in traffic will necessitate effective education, training, and enforcement of cyclist traffic laws. The provision of bikeways, secure parking, showers, and lockers for cyclists would serve to reduce barriers. A general lack of awareness of the bicycle and moped as transportation modes must be overcome. The Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency have been the most active in encouraging the use of bicycles or mopeds. Other departments have not promoted the idea of using these vehicles, attempted to identify situations where they could be used, and disseminated information on successful bicycle and moped programs. Federal employees should be reimbursed for official travel by bicycle or moped. The cost of owning and operating a bicycle falls between 3 and 5 cents per mile. The reimbursement rate presently proposed to Congress is reasonable. The cost of owning and operating a moped ranges from 8.2 to 16.3 cents per mile. An 8-cent reimbursement rate for moped use by Federal employees seems to be reasonable until additional cost data are obtained.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Matter: Congress should amend Sections 5704 (a) and 5707 (b)(2) of Title 5 of the United States Code to provide for an allowance of 4 cents per mile to Federal employees using their privately owned bicycles while on official business. An 8 cents per mile allowance should also be provided for the use of privately owned mopeds. Language similar to that contained in H.R. 6180 could be used.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status:

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for additional information.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Transportation should give specific attention to two major barriers, lack of secure parking and lack of shower facilities, which appear to be precluding widespread use of these vehicles by Federal employees.

    Agency Affected: Department of Transportation


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