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How do I get my employer on board with bike commuting?

by Commute by Bike

bike rackI received this question from a reader of Commute by Bike:

I’m interested in approaching my employer (a very large, independently owned local business) about starting a bike commuting incentive program. I’ve noticed the number of riders goes up and down, but is generally increasing. I’m wondering what sort of ideas I should bring to the table before I start asking for things in return.

Should I ask for an investment in equipment such as free lights to give out or maybe bike commuters could be entered in raffles? We already have a rather safe rack and shower facilities, but I’m more interested in getting new people to ride to work that never would have considered it before. Hoping you and the commuting experts have some tips for me. Thanks!

– Adam

I would also add, what about an employer that has no considerations for commuters? No showers, bike racks, etc. How do you broach the subject with an employer that’s currently not doing anything for us?

 
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3 Responses to “How do I get my employer on board with bike commuting?”

  1. John says:

    Adam. Companies can get substantial tax breaks for things like “guaranteed ride home” programs for employees who use public transportation, car/van pool, bike or walk to work.

    Check with your local bike club for links to any state or national bike organization. They are available to get you started.

  2. steve says:

    “what about an employer that has no considerations for commuters? No showers, bike racks, etc. How do you broach the subject with an employer that’s currently not doing anything for us?”

    ..Anyone?

  3. mike says:

    Here in the UK we have tax incentive schemes which allows employees to buy bikes and accessories out of their pre-tax income with payments via monthly payroll. It’s great, I bought a nice road bike for virtually half price on what works out as 12 interest-free payments.

    As for workplace bike commuting advocacy, try highlighting the following:

    Health benefits- employees who cycle to work generally take less sick days.

    Reduced lateness due to more consistent journey times by bike.

    Employee engagement- treating bike commuters well shows the company takes an active interest in their employees. Increased enagement=increased productivity.

    PR benefit- green commuting has PR value to pretty much any company, and is good value for money as PR goes.

    Reduced car parking cost. In the UK we estimate an annual cost of approx UKP1000 per parking space- you can park 6-8 bikes in a car park space..do the math!

    Approaching the uninterested employer:
    Prepare the ground first! Establish a base of commuter cyclists since employers are more likely to take notice of a group than an individual. Work on anything which builds a social base to cycling- after work rides, bbqs etc and try to get a key decision maker involved.

    Planning your approach is critical. Use the pitches above as a starter, and think carefully about what you’re asking for, including a reality check on how much money you think may be available. Socialise the idea, targetting key influencers and decision makers.

    Prepare a good presentation , including costed proposals and make sure you have a 30 second ‘elevator pitch’ for that moment when you’ve got the attention of a decision maker. (Engineer these encounters!)

    Have patience…

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