Cycle-friendly employers and cycle commuting (Cycling UK views)

Briefing
Cycle commuters arriving at work

Cycle-friendly employers and cycle commuting (Cycling UK views)

Headline Message 
  • Encouraging staff to cycle to work and for business journeys helps improve staff health and can boost productivity. It can also reduce a company’s transport costs.
  • Workplaces that promote cycling successfully help mitigate their negative impact on the local and wider environment.
  • If employees are encouraged to cycle rather than drive, congestion is less severe at peak times, which is good for business and the economy.
Policy Key Facts 
  • The 2011 Census found that 741,000 working residents in England and Wales aged 16 to 74 cycled to work - 90,000 more than in 2001. Over those ten years, however, the proportion of working residents who commuted by bike struggled to rise above 2.8%.
  • Together, commuting (i.e. travel to/from work) and business travel (i.e. travel as part of work) make up almost a quarter of all weekday trips in England (19% & 4% respectively).
  • In 2016 (England), two-fifths of cycle trips were for commuting/business purposes; one-fifth of car/van trips (as driver or passenger) were for commuting/business purposes.
  • In Scotland (2014-15), over 5% of people commuted at least regularly in 15 of 32 local authorities, the highest being Edinburgh City at 14.2%.
  • The number of people living in London who cycled to work more than doubled in ten years from 77,000 in 2001 to 155,000 in 2011. In Cambridge, 29% of working residents cycle to work - more than anywhere else - but for 29 other local authorities, this figure is 1%.
  • On average, employees who cycle-commute take at least one day p.a. less off sick than colleagues who do not cycle to work, while car commuters are at least 13% more likely to feel constantly under strain or unable to concentrate than those who cycle/walk to work.
Cycling UK View 
  • Employers should recognise the health, environmental and economic benefits of promoting the use of cycles for commuting and work purposes.
  • Actions that employers should take include:
    • making cycling an integral part of a Travel Plan
    • paying the full, tax-free cycle mileage rate
    • subscribing to other tax incentives (e.g. the Cycle to Work scheme)
    • incentivising cycling through workplace challenges, events etc.
    • providing good quality facilities (e.g. cycle parking, showers and lockers
    • supporting a bicycle users group (BUG)
    • supplying ‘pool’ bikes 
  • Employers should not be discouraged from promoting cycling because of liability fears, neither should they make cycle training or wearing a cycle helmet a prerequisite for cycling on business.

See also Cycling UK's guide to becoming a cycle-friendly employer.

Download the full detailed campaign briefing 
Doing everything possible to encourage employees to commute by cycle and to cycle for work purposes helps improve the health and productivity of a workforce, lowers the cost of business transport and eases congestion at peak time.