Reduced Health Care Costs Decrease Absenteeism & Turnover
According to the Centers for Disease Control, moderate physical activity (such as bicycling to work) saves 5 to 12 percent in annual medical costs, compared with a 6.5 percent savings from employees who don’t smoke. The fitness program at General Electric’s Aircraft Engine unit saves an estimated $540,000 annually, including 760 fewer hospital days per year.
Provides Fitness. Biking to work is one of the best all-round exercises and it doesn’t put as much strain on the knees and ankles as running. Lower back pain is a common cause of visits to physicians, second only to the common cold. Bicycling exercises the small muscles that surround the spine which are important in keeping the back strong and preventing injuries.
A study by the National Center for Health Statistics found that physical activity is one of the few factors that have a statistically significant effect on absenteeism. Physically fit employees are absent an average of two fewer days per year.
Bicyclists and walkers arrive at work with less stress than those who commute by automobile. A report from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging has shown that exercise helps maintain mental agility.The Berkeley Wellness Letter reports that chronic exposure to traffic congestion produces an increase in baseline blood pressure, lowering of frustration tolerance, increases in negative mood, and aggressive driving habits. In contrast, bicyclists and walkers often report feeling relaxed and more alert after arriving at work, ready for a more productive day.
Estimated Auto Parking vs. Bicycle Parking
Auto: twelve auto parking spaces: $40,000- $180,000.
Bicycle: one parking space to accomodate a twelve-slot bike rack: $4,600-$16,300.
Initial Savings for Bicycle Parking: $35,400-163,700
Average yearly cost for maintenance/taxes:
Auto: twelve auto parking spaces: $9,000
Bicycle: twelve bicycle parking spaces: $1,000
Average Yearly Savings for Bicycle Maintenance/Taxes: $8,000
Even after adding an annual cost of $3,900 for bicycle marketing, incentives and a bike commuter benefits program for twelve employees, bicycle costs are far more cost effective.
Bonus: By placing bicycle lockers in areas not usable for parking or office space, the savings can be increased.