Be a Bike-Friendly Business
All across our region, businesses and companies are discovering the benefits of embracing and facilitating bicycling. The demand is ever-increasing: more and more customers shop by bicycle, and more and more employees want to commute by bicycle. Want to know what your business can do to be more bike-friendly? Here are some places to start.
Provide Parking for Customers. Studies have found that shoppers arriving by bicycle spend as much or more per month than customers arriving by car. Installing bike racks in front of your restaurant, retail shop, or other business is easy and cheap in Philadelphia. Replacing one car parking space with a bicycle corral also improves storefront visibility, and contributes to a “walkability” feeling of the block which increases pedestrian traffic. Bicycle parking options range from simple in-sidewalk bike racks, to custom art racks, to in-street bicycle corrals which replace 1 car parking space with space for 10-14 bicycles.
Provide Parking for Employees. There’s no better way to lead than by example. Many businesses are now providing spaces in or outside their offices for employees to park their bikes.
Showers. Many businesses are now providing showers and locker rooms for their employees to change when they get to work.
Bike Share. One of our 2016 Bike-Phriendly businesses, TicketLeap, has bought two Indego Bike Share memberships for any employee to use throughout the day.
Happier, healthier employees. Commuting via foot or bike reduces stress and anxiety levels and improves mood, particularly when compared to congested car commuting. Studies have found a direct link between bicycle commuting and fewer sick days. Additionally, obtaining exercise during one’s commute improves employees’ perception of available personal time and helps counteract the negative health effects of sedentary workplaces. Employers who are deemed attentive to employees’ needs suffer less employee turnover.
Attract Top Talent. The ability to bike to work has been found to be a notable factor in where millennials choose to live and work. Providing bicycle parking for your employees, either on the street or in a dedicated room or office indoors, makes your business more attractive to young, highly-educated workers who value urban lifestyles and shorter commutes.
More reliable employees. Walking and bicycling commutes are more predictable than public transit and car commutes. Healthier and happier employees also have lower rates of absenteeism.
Publicity. Each year the League of American Bicyclists issues its Bicycle Friendly Business Awards. Recent winners from Philadelphia:
- Campbell Thomas & Co. – architect firm – 2010 Silver Award (7 employees)
- Advanced Sports International – manufacturing/production business – 2009 Gold Award (45 employees)
- CityRyde – IT/software development – 2009 Honorable Mention (3 employees)
To see if your business should apply for an award, or what it takes to become a Bicycle-Friendly Business, visit the League’s website.
Save Your Employees Money. Car ownership is expensive, and employees dealing with car maintenance and high gasoline costs will seek higher wages. Encouraging bicycle commuting can be a cheaper alternative to gym benefits. Tax incentives for bicycling commuting are available, and more are in the works. IRs Tax Code section 132 (F) allows Pennsylvania employers to choose between offering transit checks and bike benefits. Additionally, improved fitness reduces health care costs, which are frequently paid by employers.
In May 2016, the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphai celebrated Bike To Work Day, presenting two awards for Bike-Phriendly businesses in Philadelphia. The winners: TicketLeap, and Project H.O.M.E.
Many Philadelphia businesses incorporate bicycles into their products or services, or cater to customers and employees arriving by bicycle. Our Bikes Are Business profile series highlights these companies, examining how incorporating bicycles provides them with bottom-line benefits. Want to patronize bike-friendly businesses? Looking for case studies on how bicycles might make sense for your business? Read the full series on our blog.