UK businesses must offer better facilities for cyclists in light of the government’s ambitious cycling growth targets, according to new research published by the British Council for Offices (BCO).
In April, the Department for Transport stated an aim to double the number of cycling stages, defined as a change in the form of transport as part of a longer “trip” (e.g. cycling to the train station before catching a train to work), from 0.8 billion stages in 2013 to 1.6 billion in 2025.
The research, commissioned by the BCO and carried out by Remit Consulting found that cycling facilities offered by many workplaces are currently falling short of accommodating that increase, with 16 per cent of office workers surveyed for the research claiming that inadequate facilities are discouraging them from considering commuting by bike.
According to the report, whilst 83 per cent of workplaces in the UK offer some form of bike storage, less than half (47 per cent) of this is covered and secure. Improved parking facilities could help increase numbers of those cycling to work, with 16 per cent of office workers surveyed saying that better bike storage would encourage them to do so. One in 10 workplaces offer no cycling provision at all.
Many workplaces are also failing to provide other basic facilities for cyclists. According to the research, just under half (45 per cent) of offices do not have showers, something which almost a quarter (24 per cent) of those workers surveyed said would encourage them to consider commuting by bike.
Commenting on the report’s findings, Richard Kauntze, Chief Executive of the British Council for Offices, said: “One of the key findings of the research is that, compared to five years ago, cycling provision is increasingly becoming accepted as an integral component of Grade A office specification.
“As cycling continues to grow in popularity, workplaces now need to provide facilities which can cope with rising demand, and technology is likely to play a significant role in addressing this. Rather than permanently allocating parking spaces and lockers to individuals, mobile apps could enable cyclists to flexibly reserve them only when needed.
“UK businesses must also ensure that their service provision for cyclists meets the evolving expectations of today’s worker. In the same way that reception spaces in a number of office buildings are beginning to resemble concierge desks, showering and changing facilities are taking inspiration from high-end gyms. To encourage more employees to cycle to work, this level of attention to detail will be as important as the providing the basics.”
Thirty-eight per cent of the office workers surveyed would consider commuting by bike if their workplace offered better facilities.