|Is your company based in a busy town or city centre? If so, how many of your employees drive to work? Chances are, at least some of them use their car to get to the office each day, but this comes at a cost – and not just a financial one. After all, thousands of cars taking to the road at the same time has to have an adverse impact on the environment too.
A new study by Lund University (Sweden) and the University of Queensland has estimated that travelling by car costs individuals and society in general 6x more than using a bicycle.Researchers examined factors such as air pollution, noise, congestion and wear and tear on the road surface in order to come to their conclusion. As a result of their findings, they are keen for authorities in major urban areas to invest in new cycling infrastructure.
Stefan Gössling, one of the scientists behind the study, commented: “In many cities bicycle infrastructure projects are implemented to foster more sustainable transportation systems. The cost-benefit analysis in Copenhagen shows that investments in cycling infrastructure and bike-friendly policies are economically sustainable and give high returns.”
So what could businesses do to support the creation of a more cycle-friendly world? Well, there are plenty of options available.
Offer a cycle to work scheme
Employers are currently entitled to loan bikes and cycling safety equipment to members of staff as a tax-free benefit. While these schemes are designed to tackle environmental pollution and promote healthier journeys to work, they have many other benefits too. For instance, they allow employers to show they are aware of their environmental responsibilities and committed to actively playing their part in bringing down the UK’s carbon emissions.
Introduce green measures across the business
Espousing the green benefits of using a bike instead of a car could be far more effective if you’re just as eco-conscious in other areas. A few small steps such as asking employees to recycle waste, refill water bottles rather than use paper cups and turn off devices that are not being used can all help to position you as a firm that really cares about the environment.
Offer branded cycling accessories
Another way to get people to buy into your pro-cycling philosophy would be to offer accessories to potential riders in your workforce. A branded bicycle seat cover, for instance, or hi-vis vest or reflector bearing your logo, would be genuinely useful items to cyclists – and offer another way of stressing your green credentials to your audience.
Promote flexible working
The fact so many people travel to work at the same time is one of the main reasons why main roads get so busy. Businesses could therefore play a part in tackling this problem by allowing workers as far as possible to pick their own hours. Either a flexi-time policy or allowing employees to work from remote locations, such as their home, can help to take traffic off the roads at peak times – and make cycling to work a much more pleasant experience.
Further Reading / Sources
Six times more expensive to travel by car than bicycle. Lund University.
New study finds it’s six times more expensive to travel by car than cycle. London Cycling Campaign.
Cycle to work scheme implementation guidance. Gov.uk.