Ride to Work Week starts today in South Yorkshire with organisers asking every local business to encourage staff to think about riding a bike more often.
“If you’re a progressive modern company, why wouldn’t you promote cycling?” said Rosie Frazer of Love to Ride South Yorkshire, organisers of the initiative, supported by local authorities and the NHS.
“Staff who cycle during the working day, whether it’s riding to work or using a bike to make short trips to meetings, take less time off work and are more productive too,” she said. “Companies the world over know that it pays them to help staff cycle more often, and in South Yorkshire people who’ve already got the message have cycled over 2 million miles on the Love to Ride scheme since we started less than two years ago.”
Those cyclists include Mayor of the Sheffield City Region Dan Jarvis along with over 3,200 participants across South Yorkshire.
Dan Jarvis said: “In modern towns and cities, bicycles are an efficient way of getting around. I’d like to see more business leaders recognising that many of their staff want to cycle to work or use a bike in their working day.
“So far more than 270 companies in South Yorkshire, including the Sheffield City Region, have signed up to the free Love to Ride cycling programme, which gives companies the help they need to get more staff cycling. The programme shows how popular cycling is becoming here; and Ride to Work Week this week is a great time to get started.
“We know that air pollution is a bigger killer than tobacco, and recent research shows that air pollution kills more than 1,700 people every year in South Yorkshire. So I think everyone, including our businesses, needs to look at how they can help reduce air pollution in our towns and cities.
“If a company knows that most of its staff live within five miles of their office or factory, they could save money in the long term by encouraging more employees to ride to work with decent bike parking, lockers and washing facilities.
“People know it often makes no sense to drive to a meeting two miles away, when it’s often quicker and simpler to ride there instead. Research also shows that employees who are physically active are more productive and take less time off sick – so making a business bike-friendly makes sense for everyone.
“I’ve got an ambitious vision for active travel in the Sheffield City Region. We’ve secured Transforming Cities funding for new active travel schemes and I’m also soon to appoint an Active Travel Commissioner. I’d like to see more businesses joining us on this journey to make our region a cleaner, greener and healthier place in which to travel.”
Companies and individuals can sign up to the free scheme at: https://www.lovetoride.net/southyorkshire
>>Participants in Ride to Work Week can win prizes including holidays, bikes and even a Babboe e-cargo bike while they help encourage more cycling in South Yorkshire. The scheme is part of South Yorkshire’s Inmotion! programme of Sustainable Travel initiatives funded by a £7.5m Access Fund for Sustainable Travel grant from the government.