Cycle to work, UK style

I’ve recently been thinking a lot about cycling to work from the employer’s point of view.  Are there gains or losses to revenue to be had by employers adopting a particular policy on cycling to work?  Are companies actively encouraging employees to cycle to work?  Are they doing this through awareness campaigns, or by providing facilities like showers and bike lockers.  Perhaps they are actively encouraging employees – sponsoring bike to work days or other such programs.

I of course have a very US-centric view of this.  But I also began to wonder what things might be like on the “other side of the pond” in the UK.  Well, below is what one of those folks had to say about this:


Cycle to work.

Since 2006 the UK Government have been actively promoting cycling to work as an incentive to make people more healthy and to reduce the carbon footprint. `Cyclescheme` falls within the Green Transport Plan and allows employers to provide bicycles and relevant safety equipment to their workers as a tax free benefit in return for a small percentage of their salary.

However, actually persuading people to leave their car behind and cycle to work can be difficult. For this reason many companies are now offering their employees excellent and innovative incentives to make the transition easier. These include showers and changing facilities at work as well as `bike pools` which give workers a chance to try cycling before committing to buy into the scheme.

For those employees who have not used a bicycle for a number of years, professional training or a `buddy` scheme may be appropriate. An experienced cyclist is `assigned` to a novice until they feel sufficiently confident to `go it alone`. Offering `holiday miles` is also very popular and involves exchanging the accrued miles cycled to work for additional paid days of holiday. Employers benefit by having workers who are fitter and healthier and are far less likely to take time off for sickness.

As a further incentive, employees who are willing to use their bikes during working hours, travelling to meetings for example, are usually reimbursed at an excellent rate per mile (often in excess of the Government allowance which is 20p per mile) plus additional wear and tear payments as well. Some companies will also allow employees who qualify for a company vehicle the option of a cash payment as an alternative.

Most companies who wish to promote cycling to work will also have `back up` schemes of their own in place. These can include annual upgrades of bicycles, free tools, on-site maintenance/servicing and transport home in the event of an emergency or dangerously bad weather conditions. Additional options can also include free personal injury or accident insurance and concessions on the purchase of additional bikes for immediate family members.

Employers who operate a cycle to work scheme can benefit in many ways, not just through tax concessions and a reduced carbon footprint, but also by building better working relationships and promoting staff loyalty. Employees who regularly use bikes will not only be much healthier but can also be earning rewards every time they use them as well as making a huge saving on their own transport costs.