Safe cycling to work: 3 practical prevention tips
The bicycle is in the process of overtaking other means of transport for commuting to and from work. The other side of the coin: the number of cycling accidents also increased by 47% between 2014 and 2018. How can you, as an employer, do something about this?
The share of cycling as a means of transport for commuting in Flanders has risen from 12% to 17% in the past twelve years. This is shown by FPS Mobility figures. In Brussels and Wallonia, there is also a clear increase, although the share of cycling (4.4% and 1.6%) is significantly lower there than in Flanders.
Less stress and absenteeism
Cycling does wonders for the physical and mental health of your employees and fits perfectly within your sustainability policy. If someone cycles at least four days a week, they have 52% less risk of stress. Bicycles also have a positive effect on absenteeism due to illness. People who go to work by car or public transport are absent for an average of 8.7 days a year. This drops to 7.4 days for employees who ride bicycles.
3 practical tips for prevention
More bicycle traffic also means a higher risk of accidents. And it turns out: the number of cycling accidents has increased by 47% between 2014 and 2018. The fact that pedelecs, speed pedelecs, cargo bikes, bike couriers, and regular bikes all have to share the same limited infrastructure nowadays most definitely plays a role here.
As an employer, you can make a difference with a smart prevention policy. These practical tips will put you on the right track.
1. Provide bicycle helmets and other safety equipment
In Belgium, 68% of cyclists never wear a bicycle helmet. Only the Netherlands and Hungary score worse. A bicycle helmet is not compulsory, but in the event of an incident, it can mean the difference between life and death. According to the Belgian road safety institute, Vias, a helmet reduces the risk of a serious head injury by 60% in the event of an accident.
So why not make sure that your employees have access to a bicycle helmet? A bicycle helmet is also 120% tax deductible. This also applies to other safety equipment, such as fluorescent jackets, reflectors, and bicycle lights. In addition to fall protection, attention to sufficient visibility in traffic is essential for safe commuting.
2. Draw up a cycling route map
Use online route planners and feedback from your employees to develop a cycling route map with the fastest and safest routes to your workplace. The cycling routes on Google Maps are a good start, but our golden tip is to use Strava. Thousands of cyclists use the app to share their rides, so the software knows very well what the best cycling routes are.
Be sure to take a look at fietssnelwegen.be. The Flemish government is working together with the provinces and municipalities on a network of bicycle highways to connect all Flemish cities smoothly and safely. A large part of these 2,700 kilometres is already passable.
3. Offer training courses
In less than two years, the number of company bicycles leased has increased from 0 to 40,000. These are often electric bicycles because they go faster and therefore save time. Speed pedelecs make up about a quarter of that. They can reach speeds of up to 45 km/h, which means that the injuries in the event of an accident are often more serious than in the past.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to reserve a part of your budget for training, so that your employees are well prepared to take off with their (electric) lease bike. The Flemish Foundation for Traffic Knowledge (VSV) organises training courses for companies to make cyclists aware of the road code and safe cycling. A specific training course for speed pedelec users was even introduced this year.
More interesting workshops can be found on safe2work.be, an initiative of the VSV.