Biking to work is increasing in popularity as people become more aware of the toll that driving to work takes on their health, their spending, and the environment. The most recent numbers from the U.S. Census show that nearly 905,000 bikers commuted to work regularly in 2014, up 62 percent from 2000.[i]
For employers, there are many reasons to encourage employees to bike to work. Biking to work contributes to an overall healthy lifestyle, allowing riders to be physically active every day, get some fresh air and take in the scenery, and avoid the stress and frustration of sitting in traffic congestion day in and day out. It also means spending less money on gas and car maintenance such as oil changes, and it helps reduce harmful global warming by producing zero emissions.
Here are some ways to encourage employees to bike more:
Offer a bike class
Some people may be nervous to ride a bike if they haven’t in a while, especially on busy roads. Bring someone in to teach a bike safety course that includes everything from proper helmet usage to the rules of the road for cyclists.
Make your office bike-friendly
Install a secure bike rack, preferably under a covered area, or make the bikes part of your workplace by encouraging employees to bring them inside. Create a little cubby area where employees can leave their bike gear, or consider installing showers/a locker room if you have the space and a very active workforce.
If you pay for employees’ parking, give the amount you pay for their spot back to them for biking to work instead, or consider offering a small stipend to cover the cost of bike maintenance. Work with your health insurance provider to offer a discount for people who bike to work, or offer free gym memberships to cyclists who show they’re committed to a healthy lifestyle.
Implement a bike share program
Encourage employees to ride to lunch or run an errand using company bikes that people can “check out.” Provide a few bikes and helmets in different sizes and let employees sign them out. If your company has a “campus” or multiple nearby locations, consider a more formal bike share, like Zagster.
Lots of cities are implementing bike share programs; Biking Expert recently shared with us their list of the top 25 cities with bike share programs. Unfortunately Metro-Detroit isn't on this list (yet!) but there is plenty of initiative to get people riding in the city, like Slow Roll Detroit.
If you’re interested in implementing some of these offerings, carefully consider the time of your rollout to be successful. Plan to launch your program on Earth Day, during Bike Month or Employee Wellness Month, or around the time that you renew your health insurance – so you can tie the initiative into something larger. If you live in a climate where it’s freezing and snowy during winter, roll out your bike program in the spring. Really commit to implementing the best bike program possible, and employees will reap the benefits of riding!
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