Bike-Friendly Workplaces Can Be Cost Effective

After last week’s Not Your Average Speaker Series: Cycling City at the Wealthy Theatre, Carl and I were talking about how much Atomic Object has invested in support of our bike commuters and what the return on investment has been.

Atomic is a bike-friendly workplace. For example, our building offers safe storage for bikes, places to store our cyclists’ gear and a spot where they can clean up after their commutes. We will also purchase a helmet for anyone who rides to work on a regular basis.

I estimate the cost of our bike-friendly workplace accommodations has been about $2500 over 7 years.

Providing this kind of support has not been super cheap, but it looks like a great deal compared to the cost of renting (annually) more parking spaces to support more car commuters.

We own 8 car parking spaces, so they are ours to use and maintain. Knowing we have approximately 25 employees working in AOHQ each day, it’s obvious we need a lot more parking than we own ourselves. We share additional parking spaces with our next-door neighbors, and the arrangement works well, but it’s not cheap.

Annually, we rent 8 additional parking spaces at approximately $500 each, totaling $4000 per year.

Atomic has 4-5 bike commuters who ride to work 3-5 times per week, pretty close to year round. There are another 3-4 people who ride regularly but a little less often. We have a couple daily foot commuters too. As a group, they take real pressure off the demand for car parking spaces in our already crowded parking lot.

Our parking space cost savings is tough to calculate precisely because commuting patterns vary, but it is pretty easy to see that $500/parking space adds up quickly and it is a cost we bear annually. If I conservatively estimate our bike commuters save us from having to rent an additional 4 spaces, that represents a cost avoidance of $2000 per year. That’s close to the amount we have cumulatively spent over the last 7 years to support our bike commuters.

So, depending on your unique mix of car, bike and foot commuters, there may be meaningful cost avoidance opportunities associated with having more bikes and fewer cars parked outside your business. Of course, the cost effectiveness of bike commuting is in addition to all of its well-established positive impacts on the environment and personal health. How’s that for a triple bottom line?