Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via e-mail Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via RSS
Follow @theurbancountry on Twitter Find us on Facebook Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via e-mail Subscribe to theurbancountry.com via RSS

Bicycle Friendly Workplaces 12

Bicycle-friendly workplaces can help overcome a major barrier to commuter cycling. Although I didn’t list “bicycle unfriendly workplaces” as one of the major barriers to cycling in a recent article, it can be extremely discouraging if a place of business doesn’t provide at minimum, a safe place to lock up your bicycle.

Businesses have begun to recognize that supporting commuter cycling can benefit their business. In the Netherlands, a recent study concluded that a 1% increase in cycling to work can save 27 million Euros in lost productivity and improve health among employees.

Many businesses in the Netherlands pay their employees on a per-km basis to ride their bike to work, while others use a point system where workers can save their points and purchase products. Company bicycles are also provided by some Dutch employers to encourage cycling.

BikePortland.org has a good list of bicycle-friendly businesses in that cycle-friendly US city and Copenhagen has also done a great job of encouraging people to ride their bike to work.

Here in Toronto, the City has been handing out awards to bicycle-friendly businesses since 2001. The 2009 Bicycle-Friendly Business Awards will take place on January 19th, 2010 at the Gladstone Hotel and we will find out who this year’s most bicycle-friendly businesses are.

The consulting company that employs me – imason inc. – is an example of a bicycle-friendly workplace, and I felt compelled to highlight my workplace in the promo video above. imason allows employees to bring their bicycles directly into the 8th floor office, storing them at the back of the office, while also providing shower facilities for those who feel compelled to shower after cycling in to work.

imason inc.

In my experience, few offices let their employees ride laps around the office as I did to make this video. Truth be told, I didn’t actually ask for their permission – but I am confident they will be supportive of my fun little initiative.

Sadly, the only “corporate” office that received recognition in last year’s Bicycle Friendly Business Awards was “Quadrangle Architects Limited” – awarded with the “Bicycle Commute Award”. The other awards were handed to businesses whose primary business is bicycles (with the exception of the two awards given to Ryerson University).

Quadrangle Architects seems to cultivate strong support for commuter cycling within its corporate culture:

Two-time winners of the Bicycle Commuter award, Quadrangle Architects Limited is a proud bicycle friendly business with a very strong cycling culture. The employees enjoy a cyclist-friendly dress code, secure indoor bike parking, shower and change facilities, and access to bike repair items such as tools, oil and a tire pump. Cycling events are promoted in the workplace and employees participate in Bike Month and community cycling events

Businesses have a great amount of influence to improve commuter cycling. Their small actions can translate into very large improvements in the cycling commuter mode share, while businesses who are unsupportive toward commuter cycling are only adding to an already long list of barriers that people encounter when they consider cycling as an option to commute.

James D. Schwartz is the editor of The Urban Country. You can view all of James’ articles here.

Video by James D. Schwartz / The Urban Country (with special thanks to Michael Rubbo for mentorship), music by www.danosongs.com

Related Posts:

  • Kamshaft

    Nice work Jim. When can we see the out-takes? ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Kam, the outtakes will be released on DVD in the near future. Footage includes me falling off my bike, slamming into people’s desks, and pulling wheelies along the west side straightaway. That stuff isn’t free ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/13186428862833389619 Kevin Love

    I’m jealous. I want a workplace like that!

    Please let me know if your employer is interested in hiring an accountant.

    However, I was rather surprised at the bicycle. No fenders, no chaincase, coatguard, etc. How do you avoid arriving at work covered in filth?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Kevin, I haven’t found fenders to be very effective. My rear basket keeps dirt and water from flying up on my back, and the front tire has a little bit of leakage. But I have slip-on waterproof pants for when it’s raining/snowy or wet outside because only the bottom of my pants tend to get wet. My coat never gets dirty, but I keep the seat pretty high which probably helps.

    I should put on a chain case however to prevent the chain/gears from getting rusty. But it helps that I can store my bike indoors both at home and at work, so I don’t end up leaving it locked up outside all day.

    As for hiring an accountant, I will check with HR! ;) It would be great to have another vocal cycling advocate at our office (I have seen a lot of comments from you on various cycling blogs in Netherlands, Copenhagen, Toronto and Australia).

    Cheers!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04170152877824201743 boyan

    Good stuff. Place me on the shortlist for the DVD as well. Thanks.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/02904471622090523980 Alexwarrior

    I want a pool table at my workplace.

    We have showers (don’t really need it with proper clothing…), both indoor and covered outdoor bike storage, our own 3-bike bike-share (with shared helmets due to BC helmet law), a yearly bike repair workshop, some repair stands with tools, probably missing a few things here… We don’t officially reimburse for business trips done by bike, although I’ve been tempted to fill out the form for personal vehicle usage and submitting it and seeing what happens anyway, lol.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/04454437680686627778 James D. Schwartz

    Wow Alex, that is a really impressive setup. Nice to see a company doing the right thing by putting their money where their mouth is.

  • http://www.electricliftchairstore.com/ electric lift chair

    To have a bicycle is more resourceful compared to a car. You will have to spend less and of course biking is also a sort of exercise.

  • Merlinrain

    I would like to see bicycle-friendly businesses defined as those that welcome not just employees but customers as well who arrive by bike. Provide ample bike parking for visitors, and offer incentives for customers who arrive by bike. Show that you expect bikes and see them as normal transportation for everybody.

  • Merlinrain

    I would like to see bicycle-friendly businesses defined as those that welcome not just employees but customers as well who arrive by bike. Provide ample bike parking for visitors, and offer incentives for customers who arrive by bike. Show that you expect bikes and see them as normal transportation for everybody.

  • Pingback: Biking the Big Apple ← The Urban Country

  • Pingback: The Bike Path That Almost Was ← The Urban Country