10 tips to bike to work safely
A growing number of people commute to work by bike. But in some regions, more cyclists are involved in accidents, too. How can you make sure you or your workforce arrive at the office on two wheels safely?
1. Take your time
No matter how close you live to work, schedule more time than you need. Doing so will prevent you rushing to work, taking more risks, and you have the time to act upon unplanned circumstances. As an employer you can give your biking commuters flexible work hours so they don’t have to hurry in. Better arrive late than never.
2. Take a different route
Similarly to the previous tip, it might even be good to deviate your usual cycling route and opt for a safer one. Try to find streets with dedicated bike lanes or minimal traffic, or even cycling-only-lanes, to minimise the interference with other vehicles. A cycling gps or a dedicated app on your smartphone, or even planning your route in advance is the way to go. As an employer you can sit together with your biking commuters and map the dangerous cycling points in the vicinity of your company, avoiding the biggest risk most of your bike commuters will have to pass.
3. Find a bike buddy
Being together on the road does not only make the challenge more fun, it can increase your safety as well, since you can look out for each other. As an employer you can organise bike pools, in which employees can sign up to find a bike buddy.
4. Check your tyres
Similarly to cars, tyre maintenance and pressure is a crucial factor in accident prevention. Therefore, checking your tyre pressure and carrying a spare on your bike is a simple must-do to prevent accidents, and guess what – again similarly to cars – the right tyres and tyre pressure optimise your energy usage. As an employer you can provide adequate pumping gear or even spare tubes, so a quick check-up before leaving the office keeps your employees on the road.
5. Gear up
Especially for those riding on a long distance commute, a dedicated commuter outfit can prevent a lot of inconveniences, and even dangers. Starting with a helmet, over customised cycling clothing, to a cycling waterproof backpack or bike bag, which can keep your work stuff – especially if you would carry a laptop - safe and dry. As an employer you can invest in branded cycling gear for your employees, which increases their motivation and safety, and the visibility of your company as an eco-commuting one.
6. Have a back-up
Although safety measures can be taken, sometimes you need another transportation mode. In extreme winter circumstances for instances, or if you're not in good health, or whatever comes your way that makes it safer to opt for another commuting mode than a bike, you should have access to one. Therefore, as an employer you can create a flexible mobility budget or plan, which provides your bike commuters to come to work by public transit or car sharing services among others when biking is impossible.
7. Be trained
Some may live close to work, while others have a more considerable distance to bridge. Small so your body has the time to adapt and avoid injuries or fatigue which can make you less alert and hence more prone to road risks. As an employer you can encourage your employees to bike, or even set up a company cycling team, which does not only increase your employees’ fitness, but the team spirit as well.
8. Pick your weapon
Depending on your road, you need a different kind of bike. From a mountain bike over a city bike, or what about an electric bike? Or maybe you have to change once in a while. Since it is expensive to buy another bike – even just for commuting – you can opt for a bike leasing programme. Which is cheaper for the employee and the employer and gives you the freedom to lease a bike – similar to leasing a car, rather than having to buy it.
9. Beat the winter
Of course, you can keep biking to work during winter times, however all the aforementioned tips become even more crucial. Keep yourself warm with dedicated gear. Keep your tyres at the right pressure, when it's snowy it can be a good idea to deflate them a little to increase the grip on the road. Make sure you have a back-up transportation mode, a bike buddy and/or a alternative route. Keep fit, take your time and hit the road!
10. Be safe
Last but not least, make sure you have adequate insurance that covers bike commuting as well and/or some companies even provide roadside assistance for bike commuters. In Belgium, for instance, some companies like the VWB (Flemish Union of Cyclists) provide roadside assistance for cyclists, and customers of energy companies Eneco and Luminus can get cyclist roadside assistance for free. Better be safe than sorry!