While the parliament is debating the reduction of tax benefits on official cars, some ministries have supplemented official cars with bikes, a cheaper and cleaner way of getting around.
Taivo Linnamägi, head of the Division of Economic and Public Property of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communication, prefers to go to work and meetings by bike, ETV reported on Sunday.
According to Linnamägi, most of the meetings take place in other ministries or government institutions, which are located in and near the city center. The ministry acquired the bicycles late last year and they are in use every day.
The advantages of cycling include getting physical exercise and fresh air in a job that mostly involves sitting in an office, while the biggest downside is safety - most of the cycle tracks are located in the suburbs and in the city center, cyclists have to weave their way around cars and pedestrians.
According to Thomas Auväärt, head of the Financial Market Policy Department at the Ministry of Finance, car culture has been dominant in Estonia, but bicycles are increasingly seen as alternative means of transport.
The Ministry of Finance acquired bicycles for practical reasons - there is only one car for the entire ministry, which is not enough for all the employees who often have meetings outside the building.
“I think that if government agencies use bicycles for official errands, it is pretty good advertising for cycling culture,” Mailin Aasmäe, head of the ministry’s public relations department said.
The Ministry of the Environment also has three bikes, but so far, the staff has preferred the official electric car.