As part of GREEN2014 our This Friday Presents… On Your Bike – A Better Way to Work? event on the 20/6/2014 looked at how the ways in which The Bike Station are supporting people to get out on their bike.
Pre Event Interview:
In advance of her This Friday Presents… talk this Friday (20 June) we asked Victoria Leiper from Glasgow’s Bike Station about the barriers and benefits of getting on your bike to get to work and how the Commonwealth Games may inspire more people to get on their bikes.
What do you think are the main obstacles preventing more people from choosing to bike instead of driving or other forms of transport?
From our experience going to workplaces and talking the people about their commuting habits the main concern seems to be safety and fear of the road, and the somewhat disjointed nature of cycle infrastructure in Glasgow – however this something that is improving now.
There is also the issue of bike ownership and the weather – we can’t help with the weather but we can help with bikes!
People may not want to cycle in the rain – and there’s nothing wrong with being a fair weather cyclist – you can use lots of different active travel options. Perhaps you cycle in to work in the sun and hop on the train to go home?
What are the benefits for both employees and employers of increased bike use?
For both employer and employee there are obvious health improvements – from weight loss to changed attitudes to physical activity. For the employee there are also financial benefits – while there is an initial outlay the running cost of a bike is low.
There are also mental health benefits – we are doing programme called cycling for health where we have evidence that shows that you are more alert when you are travelling actively (walking or cycling) and you are much more ready for the day and more switched on when you get to work.
It is the responsibility of the employer to encourage employees to be as healthy as possible and active travel supports this. Benefits for employers include the fact that people who travel actively are generally more healthy and take less time off sick. It also means that there is a reduction in car parking spaces needed.
Is there a specific case study or company which has been particularly successful or inspiring?
Jacobs, which is an engineering company with a large office in Glasgow, has been particularly good. They took away car parking spaces from senior staff to make space for cycle parking, and also provide a work-stand and tools for staff. The company really saw the benefit of cycling. For example there is a cycle champion who gives presents to staff who cycle during bike week, have a bike user group on their intranet to encourage others to join in and a staff member is trained to support others in cycle training. Overall the company has seen a huge increase in staff cycling to work.
What do you think the impact of the Commonwealth Games will be on the sustainable travel practices of people in Glasgow?
We hope to see the same response as in London following the Olympics where there was a huge increase in commuting by bike. Major events like this can provide inspiration and be a catalyst for change. Improvements in infrastructure also help. I think that the restriction on traffic during the Games will demonstrate that bikes are the easiest way to get around and this may be the turning point for folk. We will see what happens in August!
Have you been inspired to get on your bike? We will be running workshops – with the Bike Station – during July to help residents in Glasgow to find new routes, basic bike skills and a gentle nudge to get on two wheels.
10 July – The Reluctant Commuter Cyclist – North (12pm) and South (1pm)
17 July – The Reluctant Commuter Cyclist – East (12pm) and West (1pm)
We have organised these workshops by geographical area to help with routefinding, but if you are unable to make the workshop for the area you are cycling in, you are welcome at any of the others.