New cycle friendly employer accreditation scheme launched in Belfast
Friday, 20 April 2018
Northern Ireland is piloting a new cycle-friendly accreditation scheme for employers which is delivered by Cycling UK and was launched this week (Thurs 19 April) in Belfast.
A number of major employers in Belfast have already signed up to the European Cycle-Friendly Employer Accreditation Scheme which is aimed at encouraging staff to commute to work by bike.
The scheme was developed to provide a European standard for cycle-friendly companies and is run by the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) across Europe. It will be delivered in the UK by Cycling UK and supported by Sustrans.
Encouraging staff to cycle to work and for business journeys helps improve staff health and can boost productivity. When employees are encouraged to cycle rather than drive and suitable facilities are provided like dedicated cycle routes and joined-up networks, congestion can be less severe at peak times, which is good for business and the economy.
On average, employees who cycle-commute take at least one day p.a. less off sick than colleagues who do not cycle to work. The benefits can also be found for people’s mental wellbeing, as studies have shown car commuters are at least 13% more likely to feel constantly under strain or unable to concentrate than those who cycle/walk to work.
Sustrans organised the launch event, funded by the Public Health Agency (PHA), at the famous Drawing Offices in the Titanic Hotel, Belfast on Thursday night where a range of speakers from the local business sector and other European countries endorsed the new scheme.
Gordon Clarke, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said: “We are delighted to kick off this scheme in Northern Ireland and would encourage all employers to participate and reap the benefits of a healthier, happier workforce. We know from the Belfast Bike Life report that people who cycle take nearly 7,000 cars off the roads daily and that 54% of Belfast residents would like to start cycling or cycle more. Employers can help make this happen by providing better facilities for cyclists. We hope this scheme will attract a wide range of employers in both the public and private sectors.”
Cycling UK Chief Executive, Paul Tuohy said: “Businesses where people cycle are some of the most productive and happy places to work. A third of Northern Ireland residents have access to a bike yet only two percent commute by bike so there’s lots more that Cycling UK and individual businesses can do to get people cycling.
“Cycling UK’s Cycle Friendly Employer scheme is an easy way that not only recognises those awe-inspiring businesses already going the extra mile to help their employees’ commute by bike be easier and stress-free, but also provides practical support and advice to help staff be the best they can be, everyday.”