UK's Cycle to Work Guarantee: Good Idea, But Doesn't Go Far Enough...
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Storing, Changing, Buying, Repairing, Inspiring
The UK transport secretary, Andrew Adonis, has launched a new program to encourage more people to commute to work on bicycles. Currently, only about 3% of UK citizens do that, compared to about 40% in Copenhagen. The initiative is named the Cycle to Work Guarantee and it is a voluntary program that workplaces can join. Members are basically sending the message to their current and potential employees that they'll take measures to make safe storage and changing facilities available to bike commuters. The government is also investing about £140m in improved facilities for cyclists over the next three years.
We Can Do More
While the list of companies that have already signed up seems pretty long, the danger is that only companies who were already doing most of those things will sign up (for the positive exposure), and few companies that weren't otherwise going to encourage bike commuting will join.
While the government seems to be investing some cash in bike paths and such, it is still entirely up to employers to invest in the facilities to store bikes and allow people to take showers, change, etc.
I'm not quite sure what the best solution would be, but a potential incentive would be to give tax breaks to companies who become bike-friendly. If we take into account all the costs of traffic and pollution, these tax breaks could turn out to be a bargain.
Via UK Department for Transport, Guardian
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