1. Appoint a Bicycle Coordinator
A fitness/wellness coordinator, employee transportation coordinator (ETC), or someone who currently bikes to work are the logical people to head a bicycle commuter program. The most important attributes are enthusiasm and an interest in cycling. With assistance from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the coordinator can evaluate facilities and identify safe routes to your work place. This employee can devote a few hours a month to launch and monitor a bike-to-work program.
2. Provide Bicycle Parking
Employees need to know their bicycles are safe while they work. Good bike parking is:
- Clearly labeled
- Accessible and well lit
- Located as close to the building entrance and shower facilities as possible
- Sheltered from the elements
- Located where there are people or security personnel or in a locked room
- If it is impractical to provide good bike racks or lockers, consider allowing employees to keep bicycles in their offices or in a locked storage room.
Lockers are generally the most secure and weatherproof bicycle storage devices. Prices range from $1,000 to $2,500 per bike, including installation. Materials range from molded plastic to metal to particle board. Bike lockers are not efficient users of space compared to bike racks and cages. Since not every bicycle commuter will ride every day, assigned lockers are usually under-utilized on any given day. Lockers are not usually recommended for indoor or garage use.
Locating a rack in a covered, locked compound or storage room can provide excellent security. Some racks allow you to store bikes vertically to save space. Racks in an unsecured area should be highly visible. Even if you provide long-term bicycle parking such as bike lockers or cages, racks should be provided near the entrance for visitors, couriers, and employees who wish to bicycle to the work site occasionally.
Most bicyclists are not willing to leave a good bicycle exposed to the elements. Covering racks with a simple shelter or locating them under an existing covered area can increase the number of days employees will bike to work.
Bike Rooms and Cages
Usually located in the basement or on the ground floor, a bike cage is a fenced off area in a parking garage. By installing a key or combination lock to access the cage or room, only those who bike to work will have access. Lockers can be included to store helmets and other cycling gear. Rooms and cages provide more security than racks alone and usually cost less than lockers. Since parking spaces inside the cage are typically not reserved, far more people can be served.
Guidelines For The Correct Number of Parking Facilities
Surveying your employees will help determine the amount of parking your firm will need. Some communities have ordinances governing the number of bicycle parking spaces employers must provide. In the District of Columbia, 5% of all off-street office and commercial parking spaces must be for bicycles.
3. Provide On-Site Amenities
Sponsor Capital Bikeshare
In addition to making it easier for employees to use their own bicycles, employers can sponsor Capital Bikeshare to give employees access to a fleet of 1,800+ bicycles located at over 200 stations in Washington D.C., Arlington, Alexandria and Montgomery County. Opportunities are available to bring Capital Bikeshare into more cities and counties within the Washington metropolitan region, as the system is poised to expand.
Employers can choose to:
- Become a corporate member, allowing discounts to your employees
- Sponsor an existing station
- Sponsor a new station
- Sponsor the entire service
For more information on Capital Bikeshare visit: www.capitalbikeshare.com
Some employees will not consider biking to work without the assurance that they can shower when they arrive. Showers also allow employees to exercise at lunch. In buildings with 50-100 employees, one shower should be sufficient. In buildings with 100-250 employees, one shower for each gender should be provided. Buildings housing over 250 employees should provide at least four showers with two of them being accessible to the disabled. The accompanying table shows typical shower installation costs.
Ideally, there should be one secure gym locker available to store work clothes for every longterm bicycle parking space provided. In addition to providing a locker to each regular bicycle commuter, other lockers should be available to encourage potential new bike commuters. These facilities will also encourage lunch-time fitness activities which benefit both the employee and the employer.
4. Provide Incentives
- The primary incentives to encourage bicycling and walking to work are showers, lockers and secure bicycle parking. Here are some others:
- Offer flex-time schedules. Make it possible for bicycle commuters to arrange their work schedules to avoid peak-hour traffic congestion and darkness or to take bikes on Metrorail.
- Permit a more relaxed dress code on specified bicycling days.
- Provide a company-owned pool of bicycles or access to Capital Bikeshare’s fleet of 1,600+ bicycles for short business trips, errands, and recreation.
- Offer financial help to purchase a bicycle or accessories by participating in the federal tax benefit for bicyclists, which allows employers to provide a $20 per month. Funding for Bicycle Programs page
- Give cash to bicyclists for part or all of the parking spaces they do not use if your business subsidizes parking.
- Allow bicycle commuters time to shower or freshen-up.
- Tell employees about the Commuter Connections Guaranteed Ride Home program. It provides free emergency rides home to people who bicycle or take other alternative transportation to work.
- Recognize bicyclists at company-wide functions with certificates or T-shirts emphasizing bicyclists environmental or health awareness.
- Award points to employees for bicycling to work. These points can accumulate and be redeemed for cash or prizes.
- Provide free or subsidized membership to a gym within walking distance. Employees who bike to work can use those facilities to shower and change clothes.
5. Market your Program
Promote the bicycle program and facilities at your workplace. Reserve a bulletin board and newsletter space for bicycle related information. Often employees are unaware of the programs and facilities available to them. Once they know about them, they are more likely to use them.
Publicize the bicycle commuter program outside the workplace to enhance your company’s profile in the community and to use it as a recruitment tool. Using press releases, interviews and events, make the local media aware of your organization’s program. Become involved locally in bicycle issues and events.
Hold workshops on bicycle commuting, maintenance, safety and other biking and walking topics. Lunch hour is a good time for these workshops. Visit WABA to schedule a workshop or call (202) 518-0524.
Designate a person to coordinate bicycle commuter concerns and organize an employee biking club. Members can coordinate routes and help new bicyclists and walkers. Provide participating employees with club T-shirts displaying the company logo.
Organize a company-wide Alternative Transportation Day which will encourage commuters to try bicycling, walking, carpooling, or transit. Commuter Connections can help (800) 745-RIDE
6. Find out about cycling conditions near your work site
- Contact your local city or county planning agency and ask if the streets surrounding your site are bike compatible (wide curb lanes, bike lanes, trails or low traffic/low speed streets). See list of area bicycle planners on the resource page.
- Contact WABA to help identify good routes to and from your site. Also use the bicycling routing websites listed on the resource page.