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Thursday, September 19, 2013

A How-To Guide for Companies Looking to Encourage Bike Commuters | TriplePundit

Bicycling, business case for bicycling, cycling, bike commuters, commuting by bicycle, bicycles, bicycling programs, Leon Kaye
Bicycling is on the rise in cities such as Washington DC-in part because of companies
As more companies seek creative ways to retain talent, improve productivity, keep employees engaged and reduce health care costs, a robust bicycling program is one perk businesses should consider. The statistics should certainly encourage companies. Over 42 million Americans rode a bicycle in 2010, making it the second most popular outdoor activity in the country. Almost half of Americans in a recent survey indicated they wish for more bicycling amenities in their communities.
Plus bicycling is not only a healthy means of commuting, but is a cost-effective means of getting to work. The average American spends over $8,700 a year on car payments, insurance, fuel and other automobile costs. Contrast that figure with a 10-mile round trip completed on a bicycle, which can save that same commuter $10 when factoring car maintenance into the equation. And for employers located in pricey urban areas, parking is an expensive perk to provide for employees.
So how can employers cajole more employees to cycle more and drive less? First, they have to realize not everyone is going to two-wheel it to work. And obvious factors such as geography, climate and local bicycling infrastructure come into play. During a recent conversation I had with Tim Ericson, CEO of Zagster, he shared some pointers companies should consider when developing a compelling bicycling program.

First, identify the potential cyclists

“There are dozens of legitimate reasons why (bicycling) could be difficult, scary, inefficient or just plain unworkable,” Ericson said as we started our talk. Indeed, the commuter who lives in the exurb or across a waterway from the office may not have the most seamless commute. So companies should consider reaching out to employees to determine who would be practically able to cycle to work. Data clearly explaining why employees cycle, or will not cycle for various reasons, will a company gauge whether a bicycling incentive plan makes sense in the first place. Are there employees who live three to five miles away who currently drive to work? Are there other workers who live farther away, but have a safe route via dedicated bicycle lanes and even bike paths? And if the office is located in an area where employees often have meetings within a reasonable distance, would a bikesharing program make sense?


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