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Bicycle & Cycling Consultancy

Southwest Environmental overlap a myriad of disciplines to bring you the very best advice on getting more bicycles used in your operation. Whether for healthy productivity boosting commuter transport, onsite or offsite cargo transfers or in pursuit of travel plan targets, we can help. Initial consultations are always free of charge.

Below we explore some of the key elements that can be implemented in order to encourage a growth in bicycle use / cycling. As well as the benefits that it can bring, just a hand full of these measures some extremely low cost and effort will help, the more onerous requirements below are usually linked to planning applications and the like. 

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Benefits of Increased Bicycle Use & Cycling
Infrastructure Improvements
Bicycle Allowances
National Cycle to Work Day
Bike Pool Fleet
Personal Safety Improvements
Cycle Mapping
Cycle Events
Road Safety Improvements
Secure and Covered Cycle Parking
Showers, Lockers, Changing Rooms, Drying Facilities
Travel Information Point

Benefits of Increased Bicycle Use & Cycling

If you require a work force that are fitter, stronger, more mobile, less stressed, more co-ordinated, slimmer, less prone to disease [1] . . . . then increasing bicycle use & cycling would serve you well. Whether you sector is manufacturing, professional, sales or enforcement there is always a benefit to getting more people on bikes.

Another benefit to encouraging cycling is that it drastically reduces your on site parking requirements. By encouraging cycle use, you could avoid having to move offices, avoid extending you car park or use an area of you car park for other purposes.

Bike Pool Fleet

boris bikesA bike pool fleet is a great way to get employees and other site users using more bicycles. Less active users may be reluctant to commit to the cost of bicycle until they know they will enjoy it.  A small bike pool fleet is cheap to establish and even cheaper to maintain, provided it is properly specified.

Unfortunately commercially available bicycles in the UK are pushed from the "Sports" market, racing bikes & mountain bikes are what many consider to be normal bicycles. If we consider countries in the world where the large percentages of people use bicycles for work or commuting, they ride comfy, uncomplicated bicycles that appeal to all utility riders. So the stocking of your bike pool fleet should be carefully considered.

Provision of a Bike Pool Fleet will likely require some form of formalized parking arrangements but these are quick and easy to install, and compared to car parking take up very little space. You can fit perhaps 10 bikes in the space occupied by one car.

Find out more on our Bike Pool Fleet Specification Page.

Road Safety Improvements & Infrastructure Improvements

These are "hard" options likely included as part of a planning application. At present the main problem with the vast majority of UK cycle infrastructure is that it is so poorly interconnected. If there are traffic free cycle routes near your site, then you are lucky and a safe traffic free link to these assets will greatly increase perceived safety.

Personal Safety Improvements

Cycle Parking and on site cycle routes should be safe, well lit and well maintained. Poorly lit, shabby cycle parking which is far from build entry points or other key site features will not encourage cycling, or higher bicycle use.

Over the last 5 years we have seen rapid improvement in solar powered lighting that negates the requirement for complicated electronic installations, and some cycle shelters come with pre-installed lights, it really couldn't be easier to install well lit secure cycle parking.

Secure and Covered Cycle Parking

If you are in a high crime area or your site perimeter is not secure, you may require a enclosure in which to place bicycles. This prevent vandals and thief damaging you staff's or site users possessions whilst they are left unattended.

As described above, it is now easier than ever to provide an off grid well lit secure bicycle store that will occupy minimal space in you car park, or in the corner of a warehouse.

Bicycle Allowances (eg Cycle Loans, Cycle Discounts, Cycle Mileage)

Did you know that you can claim a 15p tax allowance of Bicycle Millage? Over the course of a year even a small commute of 5 miles each way could give you a £300 tax incentive. There are also numerous scheme available which help employees to buy their bicycles, however choice of bicycles is normally driven by the "sports" market, which make sub-optimal commuter bikes. A sports bicycle (no mud guards, or lights, or luggage capacity) will be awkward to use for utility and commuter purposes, and will not be used as much, as a adequately specified utility bicycle.

Cycle Mapping

Perceived Safety is the key to getting more people on bicycles. What is perceived safety? First a little background: Cycling on a busy road with lorries and buses overtaking you feels dangerous. Cycling down a quite back street feels safer. The actual measured (statistical) danger level between these two options is small. However a lack of routes to and from you site that feel dangerous will discourage cyclists.  

Clear Signage

As with cycle mapping above it is important to let would be cyclists know where cycle facilities are (such as lockers or bike stands) and which way transport centers are. The not cyclist may assume that the town center is access via a busy road, when in fact you may need to signpost a off-road road to encourage uptake.

Showers, Lockers, Changing Rooms, Drying Facilities

One of the main problems with cycling anywhere especially in hilly areas is that one typically arrives a disheveled mess. It can be an unpleasant and discouraging experience getting changes in a toilet cubical, which is why provision of proper changing facilities is important if you are considering a genuine effort in promoting cycling as a form of transport.

Cycle User Groups

A cycle user group is an excellent way to ferment a strong cycling ethos at your work place. A cycle user group is typically headed up by a cross section of 3 or 4 commuter cyclists who can advise on how to get started. It is important to include people of all confidence levels in the management of the group, as die hard commuters may have forgotten some of the problems they had when they started, whilst new comers bring fresh ideas.

Once you have your cycle user group management chosen you can start on the fun stuff like designing a logo, producing posters and newsletters and perhaps getting a dedicated notice board. You should encourage other staff to join the group whether they cycle or not, as they will soon start once joined. Social events and group rides can be a good way to entice new members.

In creating a cycling group you will have more leverage within your company when it comes to requesting extra facilities to support your cycling. Lockers, Bike Stands and Showers are all essential piece of infrastructure if you want to get more people on bikes.

Cycle Proficiency Training

"Bikeability" or some such scheme is an excellent way to get beginners and even experienced riders more confidence with regards to on road cycling.

Cycle Maintenance Training

The first thing to note is that you can get Cycle Rescue Cover, just as you can for a car, so there is no need for a new bicycle commuter to worry about being stranded. They will even come and fix a puncture, and with some providers charging £24 a year its a low budget option.

However, if waiting for 45 minutes is not you thing, then a little training on bicycle maintenance go a long way. For more information please read our page on cycle maintenance training.

National Cycle to Work Day

Cycle to Work Day is a great way to get everyone at you work place enthused about bikes.

Cycle Events (organised Cycles, Cycle Breakfast, Social Bike)

Through you BUG (Bicycle User Group) you can encourage cycling through organised rides, cycle breakfasts and cycle socials.

Travel Information Point

If you are new to cycling it may not be obvious to you how long it takes to get from one place to another, or how to get there, so one helpful thing to do is to provide a Travel Information Point. This can include

-Key locations
-On-road infrastructure
-Off-road infrastructure
-Local topography
-Parking location
-Drying facilities

If you would like to consult Southwest Environmental Limited on bicycles or cycling then pleas get in touch. Initial consultations are always free.