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121 S. Pinckney St.,
Madison, WI 53703
Tel: (608) 266-4336
Fax: (608) 261-9967
Bicycling and walking FOR EMPLOYERS
Commuter Choice Bicycle Benefit
An employer may provide a reimbursement of up to $20 per month for reasonable expenses incurred by bicyclist in conjunction with their commute to work by bike. However, unlike other qualified transportation fringe benefits a qualified 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. More information is available from the Pedestrian and Bicycling Information Center.
Bike commuters need a safe place to store their bike. If your business is located in the City of Madison there are bike parking requirements. If you’re not in the City of Madison these are still good guidelines to help you select and place a rack that will work well. If you have space inside your buidling that will be even more popular with employees so they do not have to worry about theft or arriving to a wet bike.
Start a Bicycle User's Group
A Bicycle User’s Group is employees with an interest in promoting bicycling to their co-workers and helping you determine what might be needed to make your business more bike friendly. Starting a group can be relatively easy as all you need to do is find some interested bicyclists and have a short meeting. From there discuss what activities the group wants to undertake such as holding a lunchtime talk, leading practice rides in the neighborhood or organizing a Bike to Work Week event. Also ask their advice on priorities for improving cycling facilities at your company and even for facilities that would make it easier to commute to your business.
Organize a Bike to Work Week Event
Every spring the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin organizes Bike to Work Week. This is a great time to join in the promotion of bicycling to your employees. Do you have bike racks at your building? If not, can your employees bring their bikes somewhere inside? If you have locker rooms let your employees know that. Leading up to bike to work week is there an avid bicyclists at your building who might offer tips on riding and route planning? The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin in partnership with their sponsors host a number of refreshment stops around Madison during Bike to Work Week. If you’re not located near one you could always set up your own refreshment stop at your business.
Bikesharing and Bike Fleets
Bikesharing has come to Madison and businesses downtown or near UW-Madison probably have a B-cycle station near them. Contact B-cycle to discuss how you can work with them to make B-cycle even more affordable for your employees.
However, a company can also consider having a few bicycles available at their business for your employees to use. The bikes can be a great way to get to a meeting close by or to pick up lunch. Reserving them can be as easy as adding them to your Outlook calendar and allowing people to reserve them the same way as a conference room. The upfront investment would be a few bicycles, locks, helmets, regular maintenance and space to store the bikes. A bike with a basket will be the most useful so that employees can carry a few items with them.
Assistance with a Bicycle Friendly Business Application
The Bicycle Friendly Business program recognizes employers’ efforts to encourage a more bicycle friendly atmosphere for employees and customers. The program honors innovative bike-friendly efforts and provides technical assistance and information to help companies and organizations become even better for bicyclists.
The next application deadline requires applications to be submitted by January 11, 2013. If your business is interested in applying, contact Rideshare, Etc or the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin for assistance with the application.
Employees who live a mile or closer to your business may find walking the easiest way to get around. However, even employees who don’t walk may want to get out at lunchtime to walk for exercise or to get lunch and run errands. The Public Health Department has some neighborhood walking and biking maps online which can help your employees pick a route and know the distance of a particular walk or bike. If the neighborhood near your business doesn’t have a map consider creating one to help your employees walk for their health and to decrease lunchtime traffic. Contact Rideshare, Etc if you need assistance creating a map.
Walking can also be incorporated into your company wellness program. Consider having a regular walking group at lunch or after work or having a special wellness walking program to get people thinking about how easy walking can be.
Walking is easy to overlook as a transportation option but it shouldn’t be. Did you know that although 41% of all trips made in the United States are one mile or less, fewer than 10% of all trips are made by walking and biking. Yet because of the health benefits, the cost of walking is actually negative. Brisk walking has been shown to reduce body fat, lower blood pressure, increase high-density lipoprotein, and even reduce risks of bone fracture.