Why promote bicycle commuting?
Cycling raises productivity: Exercising before work raises an employee’s productivity by an average of 15%.
Cycling will reduce health care costs: Cyclists on average live two years longer than non-cyclists and take 15% fewer days off work through illness.
Cycling helps attract and retain your workforce: In a survey of visitors to Portland, OR, 78% said that the city’s bike-friendliness was a factor in their decision to visit there.
Bike to Work Basics
Get on board with Bike to Work Month and Day:
- Find a bike champion in your organization (email email@example.com and let us know who this person is and we will loop them in)
- Participate in the Company Bike Challenge
- Host an Energizer Station on Bike to Work Day
- Display BTWD posters around your workplace. Check back soon for 2013 posters.
Best Practices for Encouraging Biking to Work Everyday
Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition has partnered with Silicon Valley Leadership Group to conduct outreach to their member companies and encourage more biking to work. Many Leadership Group companies already have robust programs for encouraging biking to work. Here are some of the things you can do year-round to make your employees’ commutes healthy and fun!
- 1. Ready your Workplace. Showers, secure bike parking and a casual atmosphere (okay to walk around in shorts or bike clothes before/after a ride) go a long way to ensuring that people feel comfortable riding to and from work. Facebook, for example, offers an on-site bike workshop with tools, bike stands, etc. for employees to do needed maintenance.
- 2. Get Certified. If you want some expert advice on how to prepare your workplace, consider becoming a Certified Bicycle Friendly Workplace – SVBC provides consulting to help companies increase the bike-friendliness of their workplace along with this certification. Member organizations City of San Jose, Space Systems/Loral, Webcor, Mattson Technology and SunPower are all Certified Bicycle Friendly Workplaces.
- 3. Lead by Example. When CEOs or Vice Presidents arrive by bike, other employees realize it is okay to arrive casual and even a little sweaty.
- 4. Offer Pre-Tax Benefits. In 2009 the Qualified Transportation Fringe Benefit (IRS Tax Code Section 132(f)) was expanded to allow bicycle commuters to receive $20.00 per month as a subsidy to pay for the cost of commuting via bicycle. This includes the cost of bicycles, bicycling equipment and accessories, and storage unit costs. Make sure your company offers this benefit in addition to other commute-related tax incentives for employees.
- 5. Subsidize the Ride. Some companies go beyond pre-tax financial benefits, defraying the cost of bike gear and maintenance. For example, Amgen also offers a subsidy (currently $75/month) for employees who use alternative commute options (bike, carpool, transit, etc.) at least 60 percent of the time.
- 6. Provide Health-Related Benefits. Be sure that health-related benefits extend to bicycling as well. Companies like Microsoft offer cash health-related benefits, such as paying for gym memberships, but allow that funding to go for bicycling supplies as well. Fairchild Semiconductor is working to incorporate biking into its wellness program where employees get points for activities.
- 7. Offer Bike-Sharing. Many companies – Facebook, Google, Lockheed Martin, to name a few – encourage cycling on campus through bike-share systems that allow employees to bike between buildings, making trips fast and easy without cars. The Counties of Santa Clara, San Mateo and San Francisco are working on a public bike-share program that would allow companies near certain Caltrain stations, including San Jose Diridon, Mountain View and Palo Alto, to use this convenient option as well. For more information about how your company can participate, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 8. Facilitate Training and Resource Sharing. Offer a bicycle commuter lunchtime workshop to go over safety and commute tips. SVBC would be happy to discuss hosting a commuter workshop with you.
- 9. Organize Outings. Whether it is informal lunchtime outings like those at Intermolecular and Space Systems/Loral or weekend mountain biking excursions, organizing group biking activities can get employees more comfortable on bikes and promote a bike-friendly office culture.
- 10. Provide the Emergency Ride Home. Many people avoid biking or other alternative commute methods because they fear they will be stuck in case of an emergency or bike failure. Amgen has gotten around this by providing taxi vouchers in case employees get stranded due to unfixable tire failure or other mechanical difficulty.
- 11. Consider Parking Cash Out. Many employers with more than 50 employees are required by CA law to offer employees the option of giving up their free parking space in exchange for cash—see http://www.arb.ca.gov/planning/tsaq/cashout/cashout.htm. Genentech offers this benefit to employees who leave their cars at home, whether commuting via bike, transit, carpool or a combination of these!
- 12. Advocate for More and Safer Cycling. Some companies like Webcor also engage in bicycle advocacy to foster participation in cycling as well as make our roads safer through more community engagement. Specifically, Webcor employs its past Olympians in a ride ambassador program and has “Team Webcor” vehicles that show up at chosen charitable cycling events throughout 2011.
- 13. Choose your Location Strategically. When considering new or expanded facilities, picking a location convenient and safe for biking is critical for engaging broad ridership. Being near a trail, bike lanes, bike boulevards and/or bike-friendly transit makes a huge difference, especially for less experienced cyclists.
- 14. Be a Leader during Bike to Work Month and Day. May is a key time to introduce employees to cycling. Many member companies sponsor Bike to Work Day and/or participate in the Company Bike Challenge, including Adobe, KLA-Tencor, Google, Facebook, eBay, Intuit, Apple.
- 15. Above all else, it’s all about having fun, so throw a Bike to Work Day party. What better way for a company to show support than to reward their bike riding employees with a complimentary breakfast and/or lunch or hosting a raffle with prizes. NVIDIA offered a free pancake breakfast inside their café. Synopsys gave raffle tickets to employees that biked into work for prizes ranging from helmets to waterbottles.