Businesses can be bicycle-friendly in many ways, based on three principal attributes. They’re centered in three categories: Financial Incentives, Encouragement and Infrastructure. Here are a few examples and ideas of bike friendly business practices:
- Participate in Bike to Work Day on the second Thursday in May and Team Bike Challenge from May 1st to May 31st.
- Form a company bike club, organize lunch rides, and share commute stories.
- Host a 1-hour lunchtime commute workshop through Bike East Bay’s education program
- Tell employees about the free Guaranteed Ride Home program, which provides free emergency rides home to commuters who bicycle or take other alternative transportation to work in Alameda County and Contra Costa County.
- Permit a more relaxed dress code.
Provide Financial Incentives
- Commute Incentives: Bicycle commuting reimbursement is part of the qualified transportation fringe benefits which allows employers to offer financial help, up to $20 per month, to employees towards the purchase a bicycle or bike accessories. Visit the League of American Bicyclists web site for a greater explanation.
- Parking Cash-Out: Employees who bike, walk, or take transit often have a parking spot they don’t use. The federal tax law allows employers to pay employees the cost of that space up to $100 a month extra of taxable income. Visit the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration web site.
- Create your own financial incentive. KTGY Group, one of our 2014 Bike-Friendly Business winners, offers $5 per day as a “green commute incentive” to all employees who walk, bike, carpool, or ride public transportation to work.
- Offer a discount to customers who visit by bike. Tay Ho, an Oakland based restaurant, takes 10% off your order if you arrive with a bike helmet. Encouraging your customers to walk and bike is a great way to increase business without being limited by the number of local parking spots.
Provide the Infrastructure
This is an important one. While the two other attributed will encourage more people to ride, lack of any quality infrastructure will prevent people from riding to work.
- Bicycle Parking: Good bike parking is in a well lit and easily accessible area, with adequate signage. Ideally, bicycle parking is sheltered from the elements, close to the building or parking entrance, and located in a locked room or where there are people or security personnel. Another option is allowing employees to store their bicycles in their offices. Hot Italian, our 2014 small business winners, offers attractive, visible and safe bike parking for customers right outside their door.
- Showers and changing facilities: Any commute over 5 miles may incur some fatigue and sweat, and many employees will not consider bicycling to work without the option of a shower or change upon arrival. If offering a shower and changing room for employees is not an option, consider making arrangements with a nearby health club at a corporate discount rate.
- Provide an easy to use company-owned fleet of bicycles for lunch trips, off-site meetings and errands.
- Set up a bike repair station, with a pump and some basic bike tools for any emergencies or quick fixes. The Richmond offices of SunPower, a solar energy company and our 2012 award recipient, offers showers, lockers, a bicycle tool station, and dedicated indoor parking for bicycle commuters. “The management of this company goes out of its way to accommodate SunPower’s many cyclist commuters” wrote an employee in their nomination.
- Display Bike East Bay’s Bicycle Transportation Maps at your bike parking facility for your employees and visitors to use in selecting good bike routes to work.
Take a look at this before and after shot from a new bike room installed by Alameda County’s General Services Agency:Read up on the League of American Bicyclists Attributes of a Bike Friendly Business fact sheet and this report on how to Create a Bike Friendly Workplace.
For more inspiration, check out our Bike-Friendly Business award winners.