Bikes as a Business Tool: Why Perth is Missing Out

Trevor Buckenara
Your Move Workplaces Team

This is the first in a series of posts from the Your Move team around how to encourage walking, cycling or public transport use in your workplace.

Bikes as a business tool: Why Perth is missing out.

The bicycle has always been viewed as a ‘great alternative’ mode of transport. It’s green, it’s healthy, it saves on petrol. Most people are clear on the benefits, but in terms of business use, the bike has not historically been considered a widely applicable source of profit or innovation by workplaces.

However, that’s all changing.

The business bike revolution has started disrupting Perth already. In the last few years we’ve seen businesses harnessing bikes as a way to get things around the CBD and surrounding suburbs. Have you spotted the Deliveroo bikes? The Uber Eats bike deliveries? Those are the most visible examples, but bikes are being used by heaps of other businesses too.

What’s starting in Perth has been exploding in Europe. Could Perth be next? We’ve certainly got the weather and relatively flat topography to favour bikes. Read on to have a look at what’s going on, and decide for yourself.

Bikes for Cargo & Logistics

The rise of cargo bikes is a real thing in Germany. Food orders, mail parcels, employees, Amazon orders - you name it, you’ll see it being carted around city streets by cargo bikes built to carry items that delivery vans usually do.

Financial incentives, new models of cargo bikes, problems with Co2 emissions and a desire to go green have all paved the way for what has become an exploding industry.

Industry data (that’s right, there’s industry data for cargo bikes now!) showed sales of electrically assisted cargo bikes surged 42 percent from 2016 to 2017 in Germany.

Meanwhile in the UK, cargo bike service Zedify has branches in Norwich, Glasgow, Cambridge and London. Their delivery service has been making end-user delivery cheaper and greener for businesses for 10 years now.

And even big players like UPS and DHL are exploring cargo bikes. The industry is young, but growing fast. It’s certainly a space to watch for the savvy business.

Bikes for Employee Health & Productivity

Numerous studies have proven that bike riding improves overall health - especially when it’s done on a regular basis, such as on the daily commute to work.

Better health means higher productivity, improved performance, and fewer sick days. In fact, a recent study in Denmark found that the nationwide number of sick days would fall by 267,000 if the annual amount of bike riding increased by just 10 per cent. Economic gains of 152,000 euros (AUD 239,652) would result, and time spent stuck in traffic would decrease by six per cent in the capital region.

“It is no surprise bike riding is generally a good thing for Denmark. But I was not expecting that the effect on economy, public health and road traffic would be so great. It gives food for thought,” said Michael Svane, director of the Federation of Danish Transport.

What could more bike riding mean for Perth and Perth businesses? Potentially a lot.

About 40 percent of WA adults are insufficiently active, with many working sedentary jobs that can increase risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.

Considering this, a bit more bike riding could have a bigger impact for Perth than it did for Denmark - which is more active than most EU nations.

Proof of this concept is already shaping up closer to home. A recent study in Brisbane, with over 11,000 participants, found that bike riding to work is associated with 41% lower risk of dying overall.

What Can You Do?

Thankfully, there’s a simple answer here: Encourage more bike riding at your workplace!

There’s literally no downside here. As a motion to improve your business and/or take care of your employees, bicycles are a win-win.

Learn More about - How to Encourage Active Travel at Work:
Read up on some of these great ideas for encouraging active commutes.


The Your Move team


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