Secure Cycle Parking…What’s the role of the employer?

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Bike storage

My recent blog post about whether employers should provide showers for employees who wish to cycle to work certainly generated a lot of comments and prompted many of you to mention the importance of secure bike parking.

Whether or not you believe that showers should be provided, it certainly came across that most people think that the provision of secure cycle parking is more important.

This is exactly what our supporters told us in our recent Cycle to Work survey.

In fact it went like this…

  • Cyclists who responded to our survey said that cycle parking was the most important thing for employers to provide and ranked showers in 3rd place.
  • Non-cyclists also ranked cycle parking as the most important with showers in 2nd place.

So non-cyclists appear to believe that they need showers more than experienced cyclists (suggesting it is maybe more a perceived barrier to some) but everybody thinks that the provision of cycle parking is the most important thing an employer can do to support cycling to work. I certainly can’t argue with that. There’s no way we’re ever going to convince anyone to cycle to work if there’s nowhere safe to lock your bike up once you’ve arrived (no matter how good the showering facilities are).

But the question again is - should employers be responsible for providing the cycle parking and what should they provide? And also, what if the Employer has no room or ability to install secure cycle parking?

So - and I don’t think this is going to be controversial - I believe employers should provide adequate cycle parking for their employees. Secure, well lit, visible, covered cycle parking, away from the smoking area (definitely not doubling up as a shelter for smokers) and near the main entrance would be best, but above all else there needs to be enough for all of the current cyclists with room for new cyclists to park too.

Why do I think employers should provide cycle parking?

Because we want more employees to cycle to work and we believe that employers as well as the employees themselves will benefit from this increase in cycling. Employers need to help in the provision of facilities, this isn’t something the employees can do themselves and its not enough to just reply on local authorities to provide cycle parking. 

But what if the employer has no room to fit cycle parking, or doesn’t own the building and the land around it?

Should we penalise an employer who is unable to make changes? As far as a National Cycle to Work Standard is concerned I think we should expect the employer to provide cycle parking, if there is room (at the expense of a few car parking spaces), or to demonstrate that they have used their influence to increase the provision of local public cycle parking, or negotiated with neighbours to share space.

This may mean the employer demonstrating that they have lobbied the local authority or even gained agreement from a neighbour to allow employees to lock their bike to local railings (not perfect and not a substitute if other space is available, but better than ignoring the issue and leaving employees to fend for themselves).

The provision of cycle parking isn’t enough though.

Awareness of how to lock your bike securely could be the focus of a cycle to work engagement session. This page on bike security is useful. Also, the cost of installing cycle parking may be subsidised in your area. Many (but not all) local authorities are currently providing grants to help local businesses towards the cost of installing cycle parking (and sometimes showers) as part of their Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) projects.

The best way to find out if your local authority is providing funding is to contact them directly. Try https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local-council to find and contact your local authority to see what funding may be available for your workplace.

We are calling on governments to create a cycle-to-work standard for all workplaces, to give us the choice of a smarter, healthier and cheaper commute. If you agree sign our petition.

If you're thinking about starting to cycle to work, you might find our advice useful.