Bike Month 2017


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Bike to Work Day Business Toolkit

Bike to Work Day is on Friday, May 19, 2017. Bicycling is a great way to get or stay in shape, reduce stress, and get where you need to go without worrying about traffic congestion. No wonder people who regularly bike to work top the list of most satisfied commuters.

Some of your employees that live in easy biking distance to work may already ride their bike in their free time, but may have not considered using their bike for transportation purposes. Others have not used their bikes in years or may need to learn how to ride first. Bike to Work Day is a great way to introduce employees with a variety of skill levels to the joy and convenience of bike commuting.

 This toolkit is designed tohelp get your workplace rolling for this fun nationwide event, and to support you in creating a lasting corporate bicycle (commuting) culture.

Seven Easy Ways to Encourage Your Employees to Bike To Work on May 19 and Beyond!

  1. Inspire Your Employees
    • Hang the attached Bike to Work Day poster (available in English and Spanish) and the Fairfax County Bike Month Event Calendar in a common area: doors, elevators, bulletin boards, kitchens, restrooms, etc. In addition, place the Bike to Work Day poster on an easel in your reception area at least a week before the event.
    • Pre-order 2+ free copies of the new Fairfax County Bicycle Map, which will be released in early May. The map has been completely redesigned and now features an extended bike route network ranked by comfort level, all trails, updated safety and bike theft prevention information, a beginner’s guide, and bike to transit information. Fill out the attached material order form to indicate how many copies you would like.
    • Add Bike to Work Day (May 19) to your internal calendars and promote the events that you are planning to your employees. Remind them to register at www.biketoworkmetrodc.org/.
    • Encourage employees to wear their Bike to Work Day T-shirts (from this year, or previous years).

  2. Show Them the Ropes
    • Host a Bike Commuting Seminar. For employees who wish to explore the possibility of commuting to work, this one hour class offered by the Washington Area Bicyclist Association can be tailored to fit a ‘brown bag’ situation taught at your business and covers route selection, bicycle choice, dealing with cargo and clothing, bicycle parking, lighting, reflection, and foul weather riding. Commuter Seminars throughout the Washington area are offered upon request. A fee may apply.
    • Visit the Northern Virginia Regional Commission’s Share the Road page for bike commuting and safety tips. Encourage all employees to watch out for cyclists on the road. Fill out the attached material order form to receive free copies of the new Share VA Roads traffic safety guide.
    • On or before Bike to Work Day, invite a local bike shop to do free or low-cost bike tune-ups. Combine this with a table focused on route-planning to fully equip all participants.

  3. Promote Your Bike Amenities
    • Promote bike parking. If you don't have bike racks, bike lockers or a bike room, identify a parking area, or set up a bike corral somewhere inside your building.
    • Promote showers and locker facilities. If you don't have showers, see whether a local health club will let employees use their facilities for the day, or provide personal hygiene goodie bags, such as wet hand wipes, to participants who bike in.

  4. Participate in the National Bike Challenge as a Team or Compete with Several Teams
    • Register your business at www.nationalbikechallenge.org.
    • Create a team for all employees, among different departments or within departments; challenge a neighboring company or competitor to join Bike to Work Day and the National Bike Challenge; create an award for the department with the best turnout.
    • Post the current statistics wherever possible: on the employee intranet, in daily/weekly emails, in employee newsletters, and/or in a central office location. Update the statistics at the end of the day to show how many employees from your office have signed up so far, and showing the participation levels at the organizations you are competing against in the Business Challenge. If possible, recognize new signups by name on a daily or weekly basis.

  5. Thank Your Employees for Biking To Work
    • Host a breakfast or lunch at your office for employees who bike to work, or market your business and brand by coordinating a public energizer station. Registration for public pit stops is closed for this year’s event, but if you are interested in hosting a stop for next year, contact ridematching@mwcog.org by the end of July 2017.
    • Host a simple Bike to Work Day awards ceremony over lunch, or in the morning during the event. Recognize participants with simple printed certificates, and/or with simple and low-cost prizes. If you can only offer one prize (e.g., an extra day off), have a random drawing of all participants (have participants submit their name when they arrive at the office by bike). Ideas for awards categories: longest ride, best photo on the ride in to work, most stations visited, best story, etc.
    • Offer wellness incentive points for participation in Bike to Work Day.
    • Take photos of employees who Bike to Work, and promote their participation in company or employee newsletters, as well as social media. Use #BTWD2017 and #bikefairfax.

  6. Be Flexible
    • Allow employees to dress down on Bike to Work Day.
    • Don't worry about helmet hair – make Bike to Work Day an official hat day, or have some fun with the bad 'dos.
    • Provide employees with the opportunity to have a flexible schedule on Bike to Work Day, just in case it takes folks longer than expected to get into work.

  7. Make Every Day Bike to Work Day
    • Appoint a Bicycle Coordinator.A fitness/wellness coordinator, transportation coordinator, or an enthusiastic employee who currently bikes to work are the most practical people to organize a bicycle commuter program at your workplace. The coordinator can evaluate facilities and identify safe routes to your work place. This employee can devote a few minutes per week to help put together a bike-to-work program.
    • Provide Financial Incentives. Bicycle commuting reimbursement is part of the qualified transportation fringe benefits covered in section 132 (f) of the Internal Revenue Service code. This allows employers to offer financial help to employees towards the purchase a bicycle or bike accessories. Employers may provide a reimbursement of up to $20 per month for reasonable expenses incurred by employees in conjunction with their commute to work by bicycle. Please note, unlike other qualified transportation fringe benefits, a bicycle commuting reimbursement benefit cannot be funded through employee pre-tax income, nor can an employee receive both the transit and bicycle benefit in the same month.
    • Parking Cash-Out. Employees who bike, walk, or take transit often have a parking spot they don’t use. The federal tax law allows employers to pay employees the cost of that space and avoid paying a tax on this benefit. For example, employees can either keep their company provided parking spot, receive a tax free transit benefit, or receive $100 a month extra of taxable income in their paycheck. For more information visit the  U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration web site.
    • Issue punch cards to employees with a challenge to get as many punches as possible each month. For instance, bike six times to work in June and win a prize. Consider offering double punch days, or allowing first-time bike commuters to start with a free punch.
    • Provide bicycle parking or allow bicycles to be stored in the office. Employees need to know their bicycles are safe while they work. Good bike parking is in a well-lit and easily accessible area, and is designated with signage of some fashion. It’s located as close to the building entrance and shower facilities as possible. Ideally your bicycle parking is sheltered from the elements and located in a locked room or where there are people or security personnel. If it is not feasible to provide bike racks or lockers, consider allowing employees to store their bicycles in their offices or in a locked storage room. Surveying your employees will help determine the ideal amount of bicycle parking needed. When purchasing and installing bike racks, please follow the Fairfax County Bicycle Parking Guidelines.
    • Provide Showers and Changing Facilities. Some employees will not consider bicycling to work without the convenience of showering upon arrival. These facilities will also encourage lunch-time fitness activities that benefit both the employee and employer. For buildings with 50-100 employees, one shower should be sufficient. In buildings with 101-250 employees, one shower for each sex is a good rule of thumb. Ideally, there should be one securable gym locker to store work clothes for every long-term bicycle commuter. When you renew your lease, ask building owners to install bicycle facilities. They can then market these amenities to prospective tenants and save on parking spaces. If you don’t have the means or space to provide changing and shower facilities for your employees, consider providing a basket of wet hand wipes in your bathrooms or making arrangements with a nearby health club at a corporate discount rate.
    • Apply to be recognized as a Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists. Through this national program, employers are recognized for their efforts to encourage a more welcoming atmosphere for bicycling employees, customers, and the community. Deserving businesses are recognized at the Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum levels and all applicants receive valuable feedback and assistance in becoming more welcoming to bicycling.
    • Provide a company-owned pool of bicycles or access to Capital Bikeshare’s fleet of bicycles for short business trips, errands and recreation.
    • Offer flex-time schedules to make it possible for bicycle commuters to arrange their work schedules to avoid rush hour traffic congestion and darkness, or to take bikes on Metrorail or VRE.
    • Recognize bicyclists at company-wide functions.
    • Promote the regional Guaranteed Ride Home Program (GRH), which provides commuters who regularly (twice a week) carpool, vanpool, bike, walk or take transit to work with a FREE and reliable ride home when one of life’s unexpected emergencies arise. Commuters may take advantage of GRH up to four times per year to get home for unexpected emergencies such as a personal illness or a sick child. GRH can also be used for unscheduled overtime when the employer mandates that an employee must stay late. Knowing there’s a guaranteed ride home allows your employees to use commuting options like transit and carpools with peace of mind and confidence.

Benefits of Creating a Corporate Bike (Commuting) Culture

When bicycling is infused in an office or corporate culture, great things happen. People who are encouraged to commute by bike to and from work, run errands by bike, take a spin at lunchtime, or bike in their leisure time perform better at their jobs because they’re energized and alert.

Studies have shown that people who lead an active lifestyle have significantly lower costs for health care. Since employers typically pay a significant portion of health care costs, it benefits employers and the employees to promote healthy living. A healthy workforce also reduces the rate of absenteeism.

Businesses that promote bicycling are recognized for being green and socially responsible. They are conscious of their carbon footprint, aware of their impact on the environment, and are willing to think and act creatively in order to improve the quality of life for employees, their families and the greater community.

A business with a strong bike culture attracts and retains employees, because people want to be part of a positive environment. Learn more at www.biketoworkmetrodc.org/employer-resources/benefits-of-bicyling-in-the-workplace.

Questions?

Use the comment form on this page to submit questions, contact Nicole Wynands or call 703-877-5625. Visit the Fairfax County Bicycle Program for more information.

To request this information in an alternate format, call the Department of Transportation at 703-877-5600, TTY 711

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