Photo by Ruxandra Looft
5 Steps to a Bike-Friendly BusinessStep #1 – Provide secure bike parking to avoid improvisation.
As acceptance of the bicycle lifestyle gains traction throughout North America, business owners and entrepreneurs of all stripes are hard at work entrenching bike-friendliness into their business models. Why? Quite simply, it’s a smart business move. In addition to reducing the need to invest in costly car parking facilities, recent studies have demonstrated that bicycle commuters take fewer sick days, are happier, and are less stressed. These riders often arrive to work faster and with fewer delays than drivers or transit riders.
How do employees benefit from a bike-friendly business? How do customers? What steps can business owner make to be more bike-friendly? For the uninitiated, here are a few basics:
1. PROVIDE BIKE PARKING
The easiest and most effective way of encouraging employees to bike to work or to bring bike riders to your business is to supply ample, free, and secure bike parking.
2. PROVIDE INCENTIVES
Bicycle commuters will take fewer sick days and will be much healthier and productive. So how can you encourage your employees to ride? Provide incentives! For some companies, that means offering daily subsidies for bike commuters as you may offer transit subsidies or free parking. For others, it’s promoting great bicycle facilities while encouraging and rewarding your employees for participating in events such as Bike to Work Day.
3. PROVIDE ADDITIONAL AMENITIES
Showers, change rooms, and storage lockers are good for encouraging long distance commuting and commuting year-round, for the cold, wet winter or hot, sweaty summer days.
4. INCORPORATE BIKES INTO YOUR COMPANY CULTURE
Encouraging group rides (particularly to and from work), leading by example, offering workshops for the bike curious, hiring bicycle delivery services, providing office bikes for lunch time errands, and promoting your bike commuters and the benefits of biking to work are just a few ways you can incorporate bikes into your business.
5. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
The closer your business is located to a bike route, and the closer it is to the city, you’ll have a greater chance of encouraging your employees or customers to bike.
Going the Extra Mile
An increasing number of forward-thinking companies are now providing employees with incentives to get them riding. Canadian bank ING Direct (who are rebranding as Tangerine in Spring 2014) purchase brand new bicycles for new staff and will pay for all maintenance costs related to the bikes. They also equip their brick and mortar locations with a fleet of bikes that can be used for quick trips downtown or borrowed by staff and clients for the evening. For ING Direct, no bike is no excuse.
ENCOURAGE BICYCLE COMMUTING IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Sponsor Bike to Work Day events, encourage your city to build more bike lanes and install more bike parking, and support and sponsor community initiatives that encourage more bicycle use. Show that your company is more than just a happy workplace by supporting the creation of a happier and healthier community.