Our View: Workers, employers: Embrace bicycling If rising gasoline prices are crimping your budget, you might find relief--and better health--by bicycling to work.
The best way to reduce local gasoline use is to reduce commutes to work in vehicles that burn the stuff. Bicycling up to 10 miles "is a very do-able commute," said Mark McNeese, the bicycle and pedestrian coordinator for the Idaho Transportation Department.
Ask your employer to support you. Your company may have to cough up some money to pay for improvements like secure bicycle storage. But there's a business argument for getting you out of your car and onto your bike. Your employer could get a healthier, more productive and less financially stressed employee. If enough people join you, we'll all get cleaner air, less traffic congestion, and a better quality of life. ( Read more.)
A supportive employer can really enhance the appeal of commuting by bicycle. Two great articles this week point the way for employers: this supportive editorial from Idaho; and a television report on Children's Hospital in Seattle. The hospital is encouraging employees to bike commute by providing secure bike parking, showers and lockers, a cash incentive, and free emergency cab rides. From KING-TV (Seattle):
Children's short term goal is to get at least 10% of its employees bicycling to work... Next month, employees who pledge to ride to work twice a week will be given a free bike. "These bikes will come with fenders, lights and a rack and a helmet so that the employee has everything they need for a bicycle commute," said Barbara Culp, Children's Hospital bicycle program. ( Read more, includes video.)
This "puff piece" about Seattle Children's Hospital suggests the institution is promoting bikes to improve health and the environment. Maybe. I suspect it's more about traffic mitigation. Hospitals are major traffic generators, and neighbors are often contentious about the congestion and frequent screaming ambulances.
Children's Hospital should be commended for embracing bicycling. And this traffic mitigation approach might strengthen your own case with your employer to better support bicycling, especially if it's an organization that generates significant traffic. Employers can save on parking provision, and more bicycling employees will open vehicle spaces for customer parking. And, as Children's Hospital demonstrates, encouraging bicycling can generate favorable publicity.
How bike-friendly is your workplace? What strategies have you used to encourage your employer to embrace bike commuting?