Organisations participating in a scheme to help employers across West Yorkshire become more cycle-friendly have said their carbon footprint, car parking issues and productivity have “all improved” as a result.
300 organisations have signed up to the Bike Friendly Business scheme, which is delivered by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s CityConnect programme, aimed at enabling more people to travel by bike and on foot.
The scheme provides grants of up to £5,000, free expert advice and tailored support to help organisations become places where travelling by bike is the easiest and most convenient option, with bronze, silver and gold accreditation for employers also available.
Over £400,000 in grants has been used to fund 600 new bike parking spaces, more than 90 pool bikes, lockers, drying facilities, improvements to showers and changing facilities, work stands, pumps, tools and stocks of bike parts, and activities such as led rides, bike maintenance sessions, and ride leader and cycle skills training.
Over 85% of respondents to a survey of more than 80 grant recipients said they thought their organisation’s carbon footprint had reduced as a result of the scheme, while more than a third agreed both car parking issues had improved and productivity had increased.
Councillor Kim Groves, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Transport Committee, said: “It’s great to see more and more organisations making the most of the expert advice and funding available through our Bike Friendly Business scheme, and we’d like to see even more businesses benefit from this support.
“We know that where we combine infrastructure improvements with initiatives specifically designed to help people overcome common barriers to travelling by bike and on foot we see results, with cycling having increased by nearly 20% at our Bike Friendly Businesses.
“Empowering more of us to travel in this way not only saves individuals money and boosts people’s health, it also brings wider environmental and economic benefits, which is why we’re taking a holistic approach to make cycling and walking the natural choice for short, everyday journeys.”
To date, 19 organisations have been awarded gold Bike Friendly Business accreditation, including Kirkstall Forge in Leeds.
“Cycling is an integral aspect of daily life at Kirkstall Forge and we’re very proud of securing our gold standard CityConnect Bike Friendly Business and Walk Friendly Workplace accreditations,” added Emma Clarkson, placemaking manager at Kirkstall Forge.
“Our dedicated facilities include secure bike parking, showers, lockers and a maintenance stand for bike repairs, and we offer cycle hire, along with bike maintenance sessions and various other events throughout the year. We have also recently been successful in a bid for grant funding from Leeds City Council to expand our bike hire scheme to include e-bikes and also to introduce a “try before you buy” offer.”