30 Aug 2017

Bristol businesses, cyclists need you!

Mark Alker Stone, chairman of the BCO South West of England, Thames Valley and South Wales, calls on Bristol office owners to do more to encourage cycling. The recent BCO report 'The Market Cycles' revealed 38 per cent of office workers would consider commuting by bike if their workplace offered better facilities. This report considers the impact of growth in cycling on office specification as well as occupier and investor demand.

Back in 2015, Bristol’s then-mayor unveiled plans to double the number of bike users in the city over 10 years.

The BCO report highlights the need for better cycling facilities at the city’s workplaces and office buildings if such ambitious targets are to be met.

Currently one in ten adults in Bristol cycle at least three times a week and 47 per cent of these are commuting journeys. Bristol Cycling Campaign wants 20 per cent of all Bristol commuting journeys to be by bike by 2020. Bristol’s businesses need to start helping more.

Improved parking facilities could help, with 16 per cent of workers surveyed saying better bike storage would encourage them to cycle. Currently 45 per cent of offices do not have showers, something which almost a quarter of those surveyed said would encourage them to consider commuting by bike.

Overall, 38 per cent of office workers surveyed said that they would consider commuting by bike if their workplace had better or more facilities.

Why better by bike?

The benefits of cycling are well documented from reducing car and traffic pollution to improving health.

Nationally for every £1 invested in cycling, £4 is put back into the local economy. Bristol’s Cycling City programme from 2008 to 2011 showed that for every £1 spent, the city gained as much as £20 of economic benefit.

For Bristol employers, a healthy cycling workforce reduces sick days, increases mental wellbeing and productivity, not to mention helps combat traffic congestion for local deliveries.

Building on success

The good news is the number of people cycling to work is growing. From 2001 to 2011 people commuting by bike rose from 8,108 to 16, 211 (ONS), a growth rate of 100 per cent.

Bristol as European Green Capital in 2015 invested heavily in boosting its cycling infrastructure to 200 miles of cycleways and freeways connecting every area of the city. At least £16 per head of the city’s population is being spent on cycling every year until 2020 through funding secured.

Business zones in the city are integrating cycling infrastructure from the ground up such as Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone near Bristol Temple Meads train station, which has a target of 17,000 new jobs by 2030. A new cycling hub with increased secure storage is planned for the station to meet this demand.

The research shows that, compared to five years ago, cycling provision is increasingly 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 such as mobile apps can play a significant role in addressing this.

Bristol businesses must ensure their service provision for cyclists meets the evolving expectations of today’s worker. 

Access the BCO research page to download the report 'The Market Cycles' 

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