How businesses can gain from more cycling in Wales
It’s Bike Week in Wales as it is across the UK but it’s not like any Bike Week we’ve seen before, we’d ordinarily be organising rides and events. This year we had started planning a big bike breakfast at Ride My Bike Café in Cardiff with some of the first businesses and organisations in Wales to become accredited Cycle Friendly Employers, our scheme which enables employers to Integrate cycling into their business in a positive and simple way.
We were looking forward to hearing Swansea University share their learning from going through the process of Cycle Friendly Employer accreditation. They aimed to share their learnings with businesses and other organisations to highlight the real benefits of creating a cycling culture at work. However, that’s all on hold.
In Wales, the schools remain closed and we’re not allowed to travel further than a few miles. Those of us who can continue to work from home and universities and business premises remain largely unoccupied.
Despite these drastic changes to all our lives, throughout lockdown cycling has remained a live topic. Many of us who ordinarily cycle have been using it to retain some semblance of normality in our lives. But it’s not just the usual suspects who have been cycling during lockdown.
A combination no doubt of; the quiet roads, the spare time, the urge to make the most of that once a day permitted exercise and the sun, have seen an unprecedented number of new people new and returning to cycling.
As we start to plan for shops, businesses, and schools to reopen there has been a quick realisation that our towns and cities wont work if we return to ‘normal’ ways of traveling Capacity on public transport will be limited and with 30% of households in Cardiff for example not having access to a car something needed to be done.
Recognising this Welsh Government invited all Local Authorities to bid for funds for temporary infrastructure to allow safe distancing for walking and cycling. Deputy Minister Lee Waters said "For the sake of the air we all breathe, the world’s climate and public health, we need to try and lock in this shift and avoid returning to pre-Covid travel patterns."
We rallied our supporters into action and Local Authorities across Wales were urged to take action and by the deadline of May 21st all 22 had submitted bids and many are consulting on ideas to make space for walking and cycling.
As the capital city, it is probably unsurprising that Cardiff had already started to develop plans as to how the city would reopen ‘to allow Cardiff to get back on its feet and rebuild for the future’. Working with a wide range of stakeholders they have produced the Cardiff Recovery Strategy and the way people travel into and around the city is a key part of the plan.
‘Local business operators have expressed a desire to take advantage of some of the behavioural and working practice changes, by retaining the positive elements highlighted by the impact of Covid-19. These include; increased opportunities for home working; an improved environment (such as, air quality & use of open spaces) reduced commuter transport demand; more use of cycling and improved cycle facilities and improved safe walking opportunities.’
As well as recognising the benefits to employees and visitors gained by being able to access the city centre by bike and foot this move businesses recognise that it is good for the economy.
Benefits for businesses who encourage more cycling
Whilst Bike Week 2020 is different it is still Bike Week, so I’m getting out on my bike every day and I’m enjoying seeing so many new people out riding.
What’s really exciting is the conversations I’m having with people across Wales about the potential to see some really positive gains for cycling come out of this current crisis. So if you to want to have a conversation about cycling, then get in touch!
If you’re not quite sure where to start and are business owner who wants to know what else you can do to make it easier for your staff to cycle to work, or if you’ve retuned to cycling and would like to continue when you have to commute but have questions then we probably have the answers.