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Advice for businesses

Cycling is great for your employees and workplace. And now that advice from the Government is telling people to avoid public transport where possible, many of your workforce may be thinking about cycling for the first time or returning to two wheels.

Promoting any activity in the workplace is good for business. Cycling is proven to help save time and money for employer and employee; having less cars on the roads help the road network move better and improves air quality for everyone and people who are physically active tend to have fewer sick days and higher productivity.

Things to think about to help your workforce cycle

Cycle parking and storage

Secure cycle parking or storage is essential to supporting your staff cycle to work.

The type of parking you install will depend on many factors, including how many bikes you want to be able to accommodate. The list below gives you some ideas to think about.

You can access limited free cycle parking funded through Gateshead Council. For more information visit parkthatbike.info

  • Security - how secure is the location you intend to install the cycle parking? Ideally it needs to be somewhere easily accessed by staff, overlooked and well lit
  • Access - can all staff get to the cycle storage? Will you allow visitors to use the same storage? Or will there be alternative provision for visitors?

Changing facilities including showers

If cycling a short distance at a slow pace, some people may not feel the need for a shower. However, some people will and others will have longer journeys. Changing facilities should be able to cope with demand - always think about any extra space for changing that could be made available. Getting changed in a toilet cubicle isn't ideal! But in some cases it may be the only option.

It's always worth checking with any neighbouring businesses and certainly your landlord about facilities that can be shared.

Employees may like to have somewhere to store their clothes so consider lockers or a safe space for staff to hang clothes like a changing room. Many businesses use old storage rooms as shared changing space - just make sure you comply with all building regulations and any lease clauses before you redesign a space.

Provide information

Getting in a car or on the bus doesn't take much effort, but riding a bike to work can be daunting. Make sure you show you're a cycle friendly employer by providing information in internal communications about cycling to work.

Journey planning - there are lots of apps and websites that will help plan cycle journeys. Google, cyclestreets.net and Sustrans.org.uk are good places to start with.

Maps - most mapping can now be accessed online and there are lots of cycle mapping apps available on smartphones. We can supply paper copy maps subject to availability, contact emmaallan@gateshead.gov.uk for information.

Services

Some local bike shops will run low cost Dr Bike events at your workplace or provide a bike repair collection service. This will provide peace of mind to staff using their bike to get to work and bring a great link with a local business.

Lots of people have basic bike maintenance skills too and are more than happy to help out - so make sure you know if any of your employees are happy to help in an emergency like a flat tyre.

You could keep a small bike repair toolkit somewhere to provide further reassurance. If you've a bigger budget to invest, cycle repair stands are great at making a visible and useful commitment to cycling in the workplace.

Incentives

Promote cycling as part of national campaigns like Bike Week or Cycle to Work day and create some competitiveness around cycling. You could offer a free breakfast or prize draw for your cycling staff. Incentives don't need to be costly, it's the thought that counts!

Cycle to work schemes

Cycle to work schemes are a great incentive to help employees purchase a bike. The scheme must be set up through your business and there are lots of schemes out there to suit your needs. Staff will save money on the purchase price of the bike through tax and NI savings so everyone is a winner!

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