The mileage rate for civil servants using bicycles for official purposes is set to be reviewed, a spokesperson for the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER) has told this newspaper.
Some environmental health experts have proposed changes to the cycling mileage rate to encourage cycling among staff at the HSE and the Department of Health.
Recently, Dr Colm Byrne, Clinical Lecturer in the RCSI Department of Geriatric and Stroke Medicine, told the Medical Independent that the HSE and the Department should encourage “active transport amongst its employees”.
“Too many people drive when they could cycle, walk or get public transport. Most of our hospitals have inadequate provision for cycle parking, changing facilities, etc, and that is where we could definitely make improvements.
“Also, there are little things, like you receive a much higher mileage rate from the HSE if you drive rather than cycle as part of your job.”
Asked for a comment, the HSE and the Department of Health said it was a matter for the DPER. The DPER spokesperson said that among the requirements of travel regulations in the civil service is “that officers use their own transport only where no suitable public transport is available”.
“Travel rates in the civil service are calculated to reimburse officers the cost of using their own transport on official business. The rates are not considered a source of emolument or profit, and are therefore not intended to be an incentive for officers to use their own transport.”
However, the spokesperson added that the current mileage rates for cycling are set to be reviewed.
“The current mileage rates for the civil service were set out in Circular 5/2017. The current rate of 8 cent per kilometre in relation to bicycles was set in 2007. Officials in DPER intend to review the methodology for determining whether any change is warranted for staff using their own bicycles for official purposes.”