Amy Downs ( pictured top right ) is an officer of the Credit Union and past president of the OKC based Oklahoma Bicycle Society.
What does it take for a business to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Business? It starts with a visit to the L.A.B. web site to view the requirements and fill out the application. Once submitted, the L.A.B. will review the application, confirm the information with cycling enthusiast in your community, and if applicable will award the business one of 5 levels: Honorable Mention, Bronze, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. Even if you do not win the first time, the L.A.B. will provide you will suggestions for improvements that you can implement.
Here are the items that the L.A.B. is looking for in a Bicycle Friendly Business:
Encouragement There are incentives for employees to bicycle to work such as the Bicycle Commuter Tax Benefit or other cash incentives for bicycling. BFBs make bicycling a preferred method of travel and offer encouragement through programming and recognition. There is a Guaranteed Ride Home program that helps remove possible worry about bicycle commuting. There are organized staff rides (with key members of management) and employees are encouraged to participate in other social rides, employee bike clubs, community bicycling events, national events like Bike Month and Bike to Work Day and commuter challenges like the National Bike Challenge. The BFB is involved in building a Bicycle Friendly Community by supporting bike clubs/teams, organized rides, state/local/national bicycle advocacy groups and attending public meetings.
Engineering There are shared bikes staff can use for non-commute trips, like errands and recreational outings. In cities where public bike sharing is available, a BFB might subsidize memberships. There is plenty of secure, convenient, and high-quality bike parking for employees and guests. Special attention is paid to proximity to entrances, protection from the elements and potential theft. There are showers, lockers and changing areas for employees — or subsidized gym membership for employees. There is a repair area with tools, supplies and a workstand for employees to make adjustments, fill up their tires or perhaps have a full tune-up by an official repair person. The business is easily accessible by bike through a network of dedicated bikeways or low-traffic streets. If not, the business is working with local government to advocate for improved conditions for bicyclists.
Education Bicycling safety skills information is readily available in the business, perhaps even part of the company’s hiring packet, orientation and newsletters. At the very least, a BFB will have bike maps, tips sheets and a list of opportunities for employees and others to take bicycling skills and maintenance classes (this could be done with the help of a local bike shop or League Cycling Instructor). In addition, a BFB might post bicycling skills videos on its website. There may be a certified League Cycling Instructor on staff who offers bicycling education to employees and externally to customers or the public if applicable. There is encouragement and opportunities for employees who drive to work to learn how to safely operate on the road with bicyclists. A BFB works hard toward the vision of an inclusive Bicycle Friendly Community and strives to reduce distracted driving.
Evaluation & Planning A BFB has set ambitious yet attainable goals to increase ridership and other key metrics, such as Bike to Work Day participation, or the number of employees and customers on a bike listserv. Measurable goals provide the business with something to target and to celebrate, as well as to motivate individual employees. There is an appointed bike coordinator responsible for coordinating bike events, programs, and facilities for the business. This may be a volunteer coordinator or incorporated into a formal job description. A BFB conducts an annual survey to learn more about the commuting habits of employees and potential barriers that may exist for employees to bike more. There is a concerted effort to collect internal data on bike commuting for benchmarking and goal-setting purposes. Tools such as the National Bike Challenge can play an integral role in helping a company track its ridership.
Would you like to nominate your business to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists?
Click HERE to find out how.