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How Businesses Can Eliminate Barriers to Bike Commuting
From an employer’s standpoint, there are a lot of reasons you should want more employees to bike to work. Businesses that welcome and accommodate bike commuting attract more business, reduce the demand and expense of car parking, increase productivity and improve employee health, wellness, and morale.
While finding ways to bike to work has many benefits, not all people feel that bike commuting is an option for them. Over the years, we’ve heard a lot of reasons why people may choose not to bike to work – but we have plenty of counterpoints! We created our Overcoming Bike Commuting Concerns tips in hopes of busting a few bike commute myths and sharing ways to make biking to work feasible. As a current or aspiring Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB), you may be wondering what more you can do as a business to address these concerns. Read on for ideas from our Bicycle Friendly Business awardees.
Offer Up Bicycle Amenities
Having to balance between being dressed for success at work and your ride to work. Worrying about preserving personal hygiene when commuting to an office without access to shower facilities. Not having a safe and secure place to park your bike when you get there. These are all bike commuting concerns that can make biking to work a no-go for some. Try to counter these concerns by offering amenities and facilities such as a changing room, lockers or storage cubbies, showers, and ample bike parking.
In Mills River, North Carolina, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co, which renewed its Silver-level BFB designation in our Spring 2022 round of awards, offers a total of eight showers, employee-only locker rooms and 60 designated employee bike racks. In addition, there are two ADA showers available to employees and an additional unisex locker room available for people of all gender identities. All bike racks and maintenance stations are also located in highly visible, secure areas of the facility for everyone to use safely at any time during the day or evening.
If adding washroom facilities at your location isn’t feasible, offer membership to a nearby gym or health club. The Tampa Downtown Partnership (TDP), a Platinum-level BFB in Tampa, Florida, has a membership sharing program with the YMCA which allows free membership to all of its employees. There are two YMCA facilities in downtown Tampa (both BFB certified) at which TDP employees may shower, change and use the lockers when they bike to work.
Show Employees How To Fix Their Beat Up Bikes
In addition to steering them in the direction of the local bike shop, many BFBs have found that teaching employees and guests how to maintain their bike themselves eases concerns over having a reliable means of transportation.
In Lexington, Kentucky, Lexmark International, Inc., which recently renewed its Gold-level BFB award in our Spring 2022 round, offers presentations on "How to Repair Your Bicycle" by an employee who volunteers as a bike mechanic at a non-profit bike shop. Details of the presentation include pre-ride inspection, chain maintenance and repairing a flat tire. The presentation also includes an in-person fix-a-flat clinic and is available to all employees online.
Move Locations, and Advocate to Landlords
Some BFBs have even made meeting bicyclists’ needs a top priority when relocating. Langan Engineering and Environmental Services’ Philadelphia Office, a new Bronze-level awardee out of our Spring 2022 round of awards, recently moved offices to have a more commuter-friendly environment.
“Our leadership team required potential lessors to provide offices that would be at a minimum LEED-Silver and provide off-street, locked bicycle parking and shower/locker facilities for bike commuters,” said staff engineer Connor Stevenson. “When we moved here, Langan convinced the property manager to install bicycle parking for all tenants in this 38-story tower.”
Build Biking Confidence and Skills
For those located in areas with busy, not-so-people-friendly streets, ensuring your employees have access to educational resources that show how you can bike safely in urban areas and in mixed traffic can make the difference in choosing to bike commute.
Silver-level BFB and local advocacy organization BikeDFW saw an education need in their community and began hosting Virtual Urban Cycling 101 classes. The classes are taught by League Cycling Instructors (many of whom are BikeDFW leaders themselves) and teach participants how to find bikeable routes to everyday destinations, basic principles of riding in traffic, the rights of bicyclists and other crucial bike safety skills for riding in urban areas like the Dallas-Fort Worth region.
A casual lunch-time or post-work staff bike ride is a great way to help your employees practice in a group setting, and sneak in some bike safety tips to help riders build their confidence and expand their cycling skills and knowledge.
A BCycle Station also on campus
Help Employees Run Errands With Shared Bikes
If your employees have named having to run errands or work-related trips as a reason for not bike commuting, provide one or two shared bikes or a bicycle fleet for office or personal use. Internal bike share programs have made it easier for many businesses to help employees make quick trips by bike during the workday such as riding to lunch, hopping between worksites, or visiting a client. So, even when they are unable to commute to and from work by bike, they can still get time in the saddle rather than in a car.
Employees at Wisconsin Foundation & Alumni Association, a new Bronze-level BFB in Madison, Wisconsin, out of our Spring 2022 round of awards, shared their love for the availability of shared bikes in our Bicycle Friendly Business Employee/Customer Survey, which we encourage customers, employees, and others to fill out a survey when a local business applies for a BFB award. “Bikes are available to commute from the office to campus. So even if you don't live close enough to bike to work, you can still participate by biking to meetings on campus. Or even over your lunch hour!”
Is your business making it safer and easier for more people to choose bikes as a means of transportation and recreation? Apply to the Bicycle Friendly Business program. Applications for the Summer round of Bicycle Friendly Business awards are due on June 15, 2022, at 11:59 PM PT. Right now, when you apply during Bike Month, you get 10% off the BFB application fee using the coupon code BikeToWork22 at checkout.