Employers, offer incentives for cycling to work
It's been almost two months since I began commuting by bike to my job at Scripps in West Knoxville. Not only have I saved more than $50 that would have been spent on gas -- more if my commute was more than a measly 6 miles round-trip -- but I've also found something that helps kick-start the day aside from coffee.
Those benefits aside, my commuting change hasn't been adopted by my coworkers. I have seen two other commuters on two-wheels, but only occasionally.
Gas was approaching $4 a gallon when I began riding. And it's still in that range currently, if not more. Why haven't more Knoxville commuters made the switch?
The unusually warm weather might have something to do with it, but I think it's because Knoxville employers (Scripps included) aren't giving their employees incentives to do so.
I can't fault my employer too much for not considering my request for an incentive to commute by bike. We are in the process of splitting the company after-all.
But if more Knoxville businesses and city leaders would take a cue from Oregon's Gov. Kulongoski we might improve several aspects of this city including: carbon emissions, air quality, health costs from overweight and obese residents (two-thirds of Knox County adults), not to mention the local economy.
All of these improvements stand to benefit local employers.
One local business, The Mast General Store, is already pushing a pedal-powered agenda by offering it's employees $4 for everyday they ride a bike instead of driving.
And if we're fortunate enough for Sen. Barack Obama to win the Presidency this fall, there is a promise in place to "increase funding for cycling and pedestrian projects."
Here are a few things Knoxville employers can do to provide incentives for their employees to change their commuting habits for the better:
- Secure, covered area to store bikes
- Showers and lockers (Scripps has this)
- Monthly bonus equal to the amount that would have been spent on gas (average price per gallon)
- Company-planned employee commuting groups
- More facilities to buy, eat or prepare lunches at the office
Does your employer offer incentives to commute by bike? What would get you to move from behind the wheel to the saddle?