Also - Check out our Commuting Tips and Commuter Reference Guide for biking to work.
BENEFITS TO EMPLOYERS:
Employee Health. Bicycle commuting enables office workers to fit regular exercise into their busy,
but often sedentary, work routines. People who exercise, including those who do it on the way to work, are healthier and more energetic. This translates
to employer cost savings: Greater productivity, less sick leave time, fewer worker’s compensation claims,
and lower overall health care costs.
Employee Morale. Employees who arrive at work by bicycle are more alert and relaxed, having exercised
during their commute. They avoid the stress of driving through rush-hour congestion and delays, and don’t
need to worry about finding parking. Bicycle commuters will recognize and appreciate employer support for their transportation and exercise mode.
Good Corporate Citizenship: Support for bicycle commuting promotes your company’s
public image as a community-oriented and environmentally responsible employer. It says to the public that your company is concerned
about pollution, traffic congestion, energy use, overall public health, and the well-being of your employees.
For example, A single stall in a parking ramp stall costs nearly $20,000, while the cost of one bicycle rack space is less than $100.
Other Less thought of benefits:
- Providing a commute alternative program with minimal staff time.
- Promoting a healthier work force and improving
- Saving money by requiring fewer parking spaces. Eight
to twelve bicycles can park in the space required for one car.
- Reducing traffic congestion.
- Showing company concern for the environment by supporting clean air alternatives for commuting.
Is bike commuting right for your company?
All types of commuters tend to select their travel mode based on things like travel time, convenience, and the need for trips during the day. For distances
of less than five miles, the bicycle is a very practical alternative. Additionally, employees who care about maintaining or improving physical
condition, protecting the environment or saving money, or who already bicycle for recreation are often willing to bicycle commute from ten or more miles
If you can answer "yes" to one or more of the following questions, then promoting bicycle commuting at your business is probably worth the effort.
Keep in mind that if an employee bicycle commutes only one day of the work week, they decrease their automobile use by 20%!
- Does your company support innovative ideas that improve employee health, well being, and morale?
- Is your company situated in a bike-friendly land-use environment?
- Is automobile access to your work site congested?
- Are a prescribed or limited number of parking spaces available for your company?
- Do any of your employees currently bicycle for transportation or recreation?
- Are any of your employees interested in a physically fit, active lifestyle?
- Are there people in your company who are concerned about the environment?
- Do you have employees who live within five miles of
Take Action - Create a Great Bike to Work Day for your Employees
Step 1 - Promote Bike to Work Day in your company.
Include articles about Bike to Work Day in your company newsletter.
Encourage participation through memos, e-mail, phone messages and announcements, and at staff meetings.
Develop a customized flier that describes specific incentives and activities at your work site.
Step 2 - Promote registration through the internet.
Contact one of the Bike to Work Coordinators to obtain free posters, and other promotional materials.
Step 3 - Host a morning “Pit-Stop”.
These are locations where employees stop on their way to work and receive free refreshments.
Some employers produce a festive atmosphere by providing music and give away prizes, like Bike to Work Day Tshirts
Invite company management to participate.
Free refreshments could be just coffee, bagels and muffins, or a full breakfast.
Step 4 - Identify secure bike parking options.
Step 5 - Don’t Forget to Toot Your Horn!
Once you’ve made the decision to launch a bicycle commute program at your business, why not issue a press release
publicizing your intentions? The media loves to cover environmentally friendly or community-oriented business
Internal publicity matters, too: Let your employees know about your new bicycle commute program and encourage them to
participate. Make sure the program, along with a contact name and number, is officially announced on bulletin boards, in
newsletters, via e-mail, etc.
Let government officials, city council, county supervisors, MPO, and traffic engineers know that your business supports
alternative forms of transportation and better biking facilities.
Promote commuting year round
Education, promtion and incentive can keep everyone interested all year long!
Employees may be hesitant to try bicycle commuting because they feel they don’t know
enough about how to do it. They may need help finding a comfortable bike route to work, or
they may want to learn more about buying and maintaining a bike, dressing, carrying gear and
navigating traffic effectively.
To the novice, bicycle commuting may seem complex and
mysterious. In fact, it’s as easy as, well, riding a bike!
Here are some ways to provide information
about bicycle commuting:
- Offer a 'Brown Bag' or 'Lunch-and-Learn workshop:
- The Basics of Bicycle Commuting
- How to Buy and Fit a Bike
- Introduction to Bicycle Maintenance
- Nutrition for Bicycling
- Bike Safety
- Bicycles and the Law
Locally, there are many knowledgeable individuals willing to help you implement
your bicycle commute program. These individuals can answer questions, offer
advice, even teach a Safe Cycling class or lunchtime workshops at your
business. Contact local Bike Shops, Bike Teams, BIKEIOWA, IDOT or other advocate groups for help!
- Assist new bicycle commuters with route finding.
Find a local map, trails map, or use Google Maps or MapQuest to 'map' out the easiest routes to and from your company.
- Coordinate a Bike Buddy Program: It's always easier to get started when a co-worker is doing it too. allow want-ads and promote the Buddy Program.
- Facilities: Some of your employees’ biggest concerns about bicycle commuting can be addressed by providing a
few simple amenities and services.
Bicycle commuters may need a place to freshen up or change before work, and a place to store clothes. They need to know their bicycles will be secure and protected while they
Some may worry about getting “stuck” due to flat tires, foul weather, or family emergencies. Others
may not be bicycle commuting simply for lack of a bike. Here are a few common concerns and potential solutions:
- Parking: Knowing that their bicycles are safely parked and protected from the
elements during work hours is of utmost importance to bicycle commuters. Invest in Bike Lockers, Biker rcks or make secured parking in a ramp, storage area.
- Location: Choose well-frequented areas that are easily observed in several directions. Racks
that are scattered, remote, or hidden out back by the dumpster will greatly increase the chance of bike theft.
Make sure the area is well lit if it is likely to be used outside of daylight hours. Poorly located racks
tend not to get used, as they are hard to find.
- Protection from the elements:
Bicyclists have often spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on their bicycles. They will be more likely to bike commute if
they know their vehicles will not be exposed to harsh sun or sudden downpours. Cover can be provided by an existing overhang or by constructing a simple
shelter. If your company has its own parking ramp,consider converting a stall near the entrance to a
space for multiple bikes.
- Allow employees to bring their bikes into the building. For many cyclists, indoor
storage is the ultimate in security and convenience. Is there a locking
storage closet or spare office available in your building? What about
allowing employees to keep their bikes in their own offices, by their desks,
or in a nearby, lowtraffic hallway?
- ARRIVING AT WORK HOT AND SWEATY.
Like all commuters, bicyclists want to be clean and refreshed at the start of the day.
- Install shower and changing facilities.
Adequate facilities can be retrofitted into most buildings at modest cost. Homeowners have been doing so in their basements
for years. We’re not talking about a state-of-the art gym, here, just a shower stall or two. Employees who jog or work out at lunchtime will also praise you.
- Make arrangements with a local health club or neighboring business to allow your employees to use their showers.
If installing your own doesn’t seem possible or cost effective, where else in the neighborhood might there be showers that your employees could use?
Perhaps you could subsidize the cost of a “shower pass” at a nearby health club for employees who pledge to bike on a regular basis.
- Allow use of rest rooms for freshening up.
potential bicycle commuters don’t realize is that a shower is not always
necessary. In the early morning hours when commuting typically occurs, the
air is cool, and sweat evaporates. A quick sponge bath may be all that is
necessary to feel clean and refreshed.
- MEETING EMPLOYEE DRESS CODE.
While some commuters (usually those who don’t have far to travel) won’t hesitate to hop on their bikes in suits and ties,
business clothes and bike clothes are not always one and the same.
Many potential bicycle commuters cite the need for professional attire at
the workplace as an obstacle.
- Provide a place for bicycle commuters to keep a week’s worth of clothes.
Alternatives include spare closet areas, empty offices, standing wardrobes or lockers, or hooks on the back of the employee’s office door.
- Relax your company’s dress code one day per week.
have a casual Fridays policy; a day when they could simultaneously promote
- FLAT TIRES, FOUL WEATHER, FAMILY EMERGENCIES.
In reality, flat tires are extremely rare, and it does not rain nearly as often as people believe. It may be important, however, to
provide bicycle commuters with peace of mind.
- Maintain a “tube library”
Stock up with replacement tubes for road and mountain bike tires, patch kits, tire irons, and a pump.
- Offer a “Guaranteed Ride Home” program.
In the event of
mechanical failure, bad weather, or emergency at home, bicycle commuters may
be given a ride, borrow a company car, or get their cab fare reimbursed.
A successful bicycle commuting program has the commitment of the top management and is promoted on a regular basis.
By backing up their endorsement with financial or other incentives, employers can demonstrate that their commitment is sincere, and that
they regard bicycling as a legitimate and professionally acceptable mode of transportation.
There are many ways of promoting bicycle commuting at your business:
Offer a free “starter kit” to bicycle commute program recruits. Include such items as a patch kit, reflective stickers, water bottle, bike map, and a copy of the Bicycle Trails of Iowa.
Hold monthly prize drawings for program participants, perhaps in conjunction with brownbag workshops.
Have t-shirts made featuring your company logo and a bike-friendly design or slogan. Then give these away to bicycle action committee members, or bicycle commute program participants.
Offer free or subsidized tune-ups at a local bicycle shop.
Participate in the citywide Bike Month event. Appoint a worksite coordinator to handle registration. Offer free food, prizes, or
on-site bicycle adjustments to employees who participate.
Implement a commuter challenge contest with other area businesses.
Hold a “Pedal with the CEO” day.
Stage a bike rodeo for employee’s children.
Sponsor recreational rides and fitness races.
Subsidize an Safe Cycling class.
Recognize bicycle commuters in your company newsletter or on a bulletin board display.
Give awards to “dedicated bicycle commuters” who ride more than 50% of the workdays in a specified period.
Other Programs and Incentives:
Provide discounts or subsidies on the purchase of bicycles, helmets, or other commuting equipment.
Provide financing or payroll deduction for bicycle purchases.
Offer cash back to cyclists who agree not to use employee parking spaces.
Provide travel reimbursement (.10/mile) to bicyclists.
Allow employees to earn .25 hour vacation time per day of bicycle commuting.
Offer flextime or a fifteen-minute grace period for bicycle commuters.
Cost Saving Facts
Not only is Commuting to Work good for your employees health and well being, it can also save your company money:
- People who exercise regularly have 14% lower claims
against their medical insurance, spend 30% fewer days in the hospital, and
have 41% fewer claims greater than $5,000, according to a 1988 Corporate
Wellness Study commissioned by the City of San Jose Dept. of Recreation.
- “Bicycling is one of the best things you can do to
keep your heart and lungs in shape, and to attain that feeling of contentment
which comes with exercise.” — Dr Kenneth Cooper, author of “The Aerobics
Program for Total Well-Being.”
- University of Wisconsin's Transportation Demand
Managers estimates the cost of one car-parking ramp stall at nearly $20,000,
while the cost of one bicycle rack space is less than $100.
- 1 in 60 workers nationwide already bicycle commutes. But according to a 1990 Harris poll, the proportion of
bicycle commuters could rise to 1 in 5 if better facilities were provided.
Thanks to the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin for providing most of the content in this section.