How to ride to work safely on two wheels
As spring is getting closer, cyclists are preparing to take their bikes out of the shed again. Some may even have continued riding through winter. Here are some tips to make cycling to work safer and a brief look at how Belfius manages bicycle safety.
1. Wear helmets
Wearing a helmet can reduce the risk of head injury to bicyclists by as much as 85%. However, in countries with appropriate cycling infrastructure like the Netherlands, helmets are almost unknown and the policy may need to be more lenient as they may be considered to be less essential.
In particular if you include speed pedelecs that can reach speeds up to 45km/h (depending on local legislation), some rider training will be required. Training can also include guidance to find safe routes to and from the office.
3. Include maintenance
More companies are starting to include leased bikes to their mobility offering, and there’s no reason not to include maintenance in the lease rate. A well-maintained bike is a safer bike.
4. Location, location, location
Getting staff to cycle to the office is difficult if your headquarters aren’t accessible over safe, dedicated cycle lanes. More than ever, the location of your offices should be chosen keeping accessibility in mind.
5. Consider micromobility and motorbikes
There’s no reason to limit two-wheeled mobility to bicycles. Motorbikes can be a useful alternative to avoid congested motorways, but they do come with their own set of safety challenges. Some companies chose not to include motorbikes as a mobility option for that reason.
Micromobility options like e-scooters can be a useful last-mile option. Keep in mind that the smaller the wheels, the more likely they will get stuck in a crevice or bump.
Belfius: bikes yes, motorbikes and e-scooters no
“For safety reasons, we decided not to add motorbikes or mopeds as an option in our cafeteria plan,” said Ronny Mewis, Fleet & Travel Manager at the Belgian Belfius bank. “We do have colleagues that use their personal motorbikes to commute to the office, though.”
Belfius does offer leased bicycles as part of the cafeteria plan, both traditional and electric bikes. Out of a workforce of 4,000, close to 300 cycle to the office or to their nearest train station, covering 25km a day on average.
“We recommend wearing a helmet,” said Mr Mewis, “and our intranet has a page with safety tips for cyclists. As a whole, cycling in Brussels is still quite dangerous, though.”
Maintenance can be included in the bike lease and Belfius also provides a selection of tools in the bike parking.
E-scooters have not been included in Belfius’ mobility offering. “Taxation for e-scooters is an issue. From a taxation point of view, e-scooters are not considered to be an alternative to bikes so they have no tax exemption for benefit in kind.”