5 ways to engage your employees in bike commuting

By Hannah Lime, Strategic Communications
May 07, 2015
Business leaders share their bike commuting tips and challenges

New research shows that bike commuting strategies could save American commuters and cities $27.6 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by 5 million metrics tons. Aside from the financial and environmental benefits, bike commuting is great way to help your employees stay healthy and arrive to work energized and productive each morning.

For several years, Portland, Oregon, was recognized as the leader in bike commuting, and large cities across the country have modeled its transportation system. But an annual report published last September shows that Portland has fallen to number four in the Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities.  

On May 15, nearly 100 leaders from across the Portland business community gathered at Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon’s Portland headquarters for the fourth annual Portland Employers Bike Summit to discuss ways to increase bike commuting in the workplace, and hopefully reclaim the “bike city crown.” At the event, the Bicycle Transportation Alliance shared these five tips to help you promote bike commuting in your workplace, regardless of the city your business is in.

  1. Communication: Meet with your human resources or communications manager to develop an engaging, fun email communications plan, and integrate that messaging into your existing workplace communications. As a friendly reminder, occasionally check in with your colleagues and ask if there are ways you can help.
  2. Preparation and safety: Your employees aren’t likely to bike commute if they don’t feel safe or prepared to do so. You can help by recruiting an existing bike commuter in your office to assist with route planning and organize “buddy rides” for new commuters.
  3. Equipment: Providing a secure bike locker and maintenance tools encourages your employees to bike commute. Take it one step further by also providing a list of resources, such as nearby bike equipment and repair shops.
  4. Motivation: Participate in the National Bike Challenge (May to September each year) to increase bike commuting, and begin outreach two months prior to build momentum. The most successful bike commuting campaigns include rivalries, whether between departments or between businesses, and offer incentives, such as coffee gift cards, paid time off or a new bike.
  5. Recognition: Be sure to recognize the stars of your bike commuting team. Recognition can be as small as an email or certificate of achievement, or as large as an event or trophy. Your employees will appreciate that you noticed their effort to lead a healthier lifestyle.
Attendees network while enjoying "mocktails"

At Regence, we’re always examining opportunities to reinvest in our community and in our members. It’s core to who we are as a not-for-profit company. We’ve been at the table and welcome the opportunity to continue to be at the table as the Portland bike community looks for ways to continue improving the safety and accessibility of bike commuting.

To learn about the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s plans for walk and bike improvements, click here.