What is the best way to encourage work trips by bicycle?

Recruiting commuter cyclists depends on effective hardware and attractive software.

Hardware includes:

  • Supportive facilities such as bike lanes and off-road trails. Current and would-be cycling commuters identify physical barriers and safety concerns as reasons to cycle less or not at all when deciding which mode to choose for work trips. Equipping communities with facilities is the first step in successfully encouraging people to cycle to work.
  • Destination facilities such as secure long-term bicycle parking, as well as lockers, changing rooms, and showers.

Facilities and promotions such as Bike to Work Week are essential for convincing commuters to try cycling for transportation.

Photo: John Luton

Software includes:

  • Fun and interesting events that market behavior change and connect cyclists to facilities.

For example, Victoria, British Columbia, hosts North America's most successful Bike to Work promotion: two percent of the region's population registered as participants in 2008. These are the main features of Victoria's program:

  • A commuter challenge race that pits car drivers against cyclists in a friendly competition to demonstrate that cycling is time-competitive with driving as a means of transportation. Work-place based recruitment promotions that connect new and potential cyclists with an accessible and familiar contact for resources to help them try commuter cycling.
  • Positive marketing messages that link cycling to personal goals such as health and fitness.
  • A rewards program to entice people to try bicycling.
  • Commuter skills training courses to help new and potential cyclists gain the confidence they need to ride to work.

For more information, see the case study on Bike to Work Week or visit www.biketowork.ca.