Thursday, September 25, 2014

Connecticut is Weak on Bicycle Friendly Businesses

First, I'd like to congratulate the six (6) companies in Connecticut that have been recognized as Bicycle Friendly Businesses.  They have started looking past the immediate horizon and realize that active transportation improves the health and attitude of employees, lowers their cost of living, supports locally focused community and businesses, puts less wear and tear on the roads and parking lots, and is goodness for employee retention.

Many Connecticut corporations and small companies pay no mind to how their employees get to work.  That is reflected in our state's marked under representation in the Bicycle Friendly Business listing.   Of the 150 new BFB's in 2014, only two (2) are from Connecticut.  Of the 800+ total BFB's, you'll only find six (6) - listed below.  For comparison to a similarly sized state in our region, Massachusetts has thirty-two (32) BFB's.  For such a swaggering bikey city that New Haven isn't better represented with more Bicycle Friendly Businesses.

What surprises me is that more companies haven't recognized the benefits.  So focused are we on the next quarter profits, or the next month's business expenses, that we're giving away the long game (and future benefits) of workplaces that step away from the 1-to-1 ratio of parking spots to employees.  Not even considering the catastrophic global weirdness that may be creeping out of scientific predilection and into our weather patterns, there are almost immediate benefits for employers that promote alternates to single occupancy vehicle travel.  Bicycles aren't the only option - car pooling, transit, walking, and telecommuting.  There are oodles of ways to reduce our transportation impacts, while improving quality of life.

Enough negativity for now. Here are the 2014 Bicycle Friendly Businesses in CT.  Congratulations!  You stand out in Connecticut for actually making an effort.  It's an easy application to fill out, and in 2014 it was free to apply.  Let's do better next round Connecticut!

2014 Connecticut Bicycle Friendly Businesses 
  • [SILVER] Bicycles East, Glastonbury (new in 2014)
  • [SILVER] REI - West Hartford (since 2012)
  • [BRONZE] Connecticut Mental Health Center, New Haven (since 2013)
  • [BRONZE] CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Hartford (since 2012)
  • [BRONZE] Pratt & Whitney, East Hartford (new in 2014)
  • [BRONZE] Whitcraft LLC, Eastford (since 2011)
League of American Bicyclists - Bicycle Friendly Business Program, Bicycle Friendly Community Program

Connecticut's website promoting alternate commutes -

Simple ways to make your company more Bike Friendly:

  • Visible and convenient bike parking.  If you can put it under an overhang or patio, that's ideal.  Bike parking near the main entry doors, and more convenient than the surface parking lots advertises that your company respects and promotes human powered transportation.
  • Put up some Share the Road signs.  After P&W put up Share the Road signs on the roads looping our campus, my negative vehicle interfaces fell dramatically.  
  • Showers and lockers.  I've got a short commute, so I don't need a shower when I arrive by bike.  Many potential bike commuters with longer commutes or lower fitness levels may feel that a shower is required to polish up before tackling the work day.
  • Bike Commuting, Telecommuting, Transit, and Carpooling Info Sessions.  Schedule and hold lunch and learn sessions that highlight the options and allow your local experts (and outside advocates) to share best practices and safety tips.
  • Hold a Bike to Work Day or breakfast event (bagels and coffee) at your campus or support your local Bike to Work Day.

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