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6 Reasons to Make Your Building Bike-Friendly

A post by Andy |

Bikes are probably the most efficient human-powered means of transportation. They’re also one of the fastest, most cost-effective, and most diverse forms of exercise. You can use them to enjoy yourself, challenge yourself, or even just get from point A to point B.

With more and more people biking, it’s becoming an integral part of our lives and lifestyles. It only stands to reason that it’s becoming part of the urban landscape, too. And there’s a rising need — and responsibility — for businesses to provide bicycle parking for their customers and employees.

Why should my business offer bike parking?

1. The number of cyclists is rising.

According to the 2013/14 census, 12 million Canadians aged 12 and up (41%) said that they’d bicycled in the last year. About 7 million had cycled in the last three months, which is an increase from 6.5 million in 1994/95.

2. Cities are embracing cycling.

In 2016, the highest number of people who biked to work in urban areas was in Victoria, BC (6.6%), Kelowna, BC (2.7%), Ottawa—Gatineau, ON (2.4%), Vancouver, BC (2.3%), Saskatoon, SK (2.0%), and Montreal, QC (2.0%). We think this is because major cities are making it easier for users to find alternate transportation routes. In 2010, nine Canadian cities were the first to share their bike path data with Google. Edmonton was one of them.

We’re proud that Edmonton has also supported this change through the Downtown Bike Network and other paths. Throughout the city, we have 117 kilometres of on-street bike routes and 275 kilometres of shared paths. 500 kilometres of new bike lanes and paths are planned from 2009 to 2019. As the network of bike paths continues to grow and provide better ways for people to travel, the number of people who bike — whether for work or for play — will grow, too.

Edmonton also boasts our beloved North Saskatchewan River Valley. It’s the largest expanse of urban parkland in North America with over 20 major parks and attractions and 7,400 hectares of land (22 times the size of New York City’s Central Park). With a combined length of 103 kilometres of trail, there’s tons to explore on a bike.

3. It’s better for your bottom line.

A bike park is a vital part of any business’s wellness program. Bike commuters live longer, have better blood pressure, and are less likely to be overweight. All of these things could prevent employee fatigue and reduce sick days due to illness, both of which negatively affect productivity. It can also help lower your paid group benefits.

4. Sustainability matters.

If you’re trying to establish yourself as a friend of people and planet, this is a great start. A 2015 global survey found that 45% of people were more likely to buy a product if it came from a company known for being environmentally friendly. 41% were more likely to buy if the company was known for its commitment to community. Efforts to reduce a business’s environmental footprint also draw job seekers because it’s something they can be proud of.

Edmonton’s Bicycle User Survey found that people would be more likely to bike more often if more secure bike parking were provided. And more people on bikes means cleaner air, clearer water, and a healthier environment. So why not do your part to work toward that?

5. Your employees will love it.

When people are deciding where to work, employees look for companies whose values align with theirs. Fitness-minded employees also look for an environment that meets their physical exercise needs. Oftentimes they want an employer that helps support them in their fitness goals. Offering amenities to cyclists could be the difference between someone working for you or for your competitor.

6. It’s a great way to visually reinforce your brand.

When people walk through, touch, and otherwise interact with a brand, there’s an opportunity to create a memorable impression. Through the use of colour, imagery, typography, form, content, and technology, you can communicate a message to the people who use the space. You can achieve this through applications like paint colours, image wall wraps, dimensional signage, and other vibrant environmental graphics.

Sounds good! What do I do?

Start by thinking about your space, your budget, your city’s regulations (and your landlord’s, if applicable), and the number of bicycles you can realistically store. If it’s not feasible to overhaul a large area, there are smaller but just as meaningful ways to show you care.

Space-efficient bike racks are a good start. Wall-mounted options maximize storage, make good use of otherwise wasted real estate, and keep bicycles out of the way of vehicles. This is especially ideal for shared spaces. Because these spaces are often within vehicle parkades, it’s a good idea to make them stand out. Clear epoxy floor treatments designate the bike parking area, keep it clean, and protect the surface so it looks good for longer.

If you have more space to work with, consider adding lockers for personal items, water bottle filling stations, and bathrooms so cyclists can shower before getting on with their day. For some people, the hygiene aspect can be the difference between biking or not.

You could also think about adding tools like bike repair stands, washing stations, and air pumps to help users keep their bicycles in good condition. And regardless of size, we always recommend security features like ample lighting, video surveillance, and fob access to keep the parking area safe.

Adding a bike parking program to your facility can help you in more ways than you can imagine. Interested in making a change? Get in touch with us.