I had a burning question. I wanted to know whether Bikes Welcome is on the right track by encouraging businesses to provide bike parking. Should we be looking more broadly at what makes a bike friendly business? After all, not all businesses can install their own bike parking, and not all councils are supportive in providing it on the roading reserve (and sometimes it’s just not feasible). It was time to ask around and see what people who bike think about all of this. Thanks to those 42 people who responded, I’ve got a better idea of what Bikes Welcome supporters and ‘followers’ are looking for in a Bike Friendly Business, what’s important to them and what makes good bike parking.
Does it matter whether businesses are bike friendly or not?
Yes it matters. But most of all, respondents just want somewhere to park their bikes (88% said this matters to them), closely followed by wanting:
- businesses to support councils building bike lanes (69%)
- To support businesses who reflect their values and priorities (69%)
- Businesses to make sustainable choices (65%)
For the people who chose ‘other’ the quality and security of bike parking was very important to them, along with employee end of trip facilities (showers and lockers) and the sense of community and connection biking offers.
“I want to visit places that are nice to be around other people. Bikes and walking do this. cars do not. Car parking always seems impersonal, divorced and dangerous. Bikes are friendly and human scale.”
Does bike parking quality matter?
The type of bike rack (i.e. not a wheelbender) was ranked as either important or very important to 93% of respondents.
Proximity to the business was important or very important to 85%, closely followed by security (80%) and quantity of bike parking (74%).
What makes a bike friendly business?
When asked to rank what factors make a business bike friendly, bike parking for customers and visitors came out clearly on top, with 63% ranking it as number one. The next priorities in order were:
- Actively supporting the building of bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure
- Encouraging staff to bike
- Being close to a bike lane or trail
Of lower priority were:
- Providing extras like pumps, tools, locks etc
- Supporting biking in the community with hosting or sponsorship
- Using bikes in their business
And last: providing discounts, incentives or deals for people who bike.
So what does it all mean?
Warm fluffy stuff can’t compete with the basics of providing quality bike parking and supporting cycle lanes. Biking customers are looking for businesses to provide bike parking and reflect their values by supporting bike lanes and sustainable choices.
Is the sample representative?
42 is a small set of respondents and probably skewed toward people already supportive of the ethos of Bikes Welcome. It would be great to get a broader response, although we do know from the CAN survey of over 1000 people nationwide:
“In shopping and CBD areas, over two thirds of respondents wanted more bike parking, and almost half wanted these areas to be closed to traffic except buses, cycling & walking.”
Back to the burning question
We’ve got a better understanding of some of the key ingredients to make a bike friendly business. It seems we are on the right track encouraging businesses to provide bike parking and be supportive of biking. The question is how to do it most effectively? That will be one to ponder in the weeks and months to come as I review Bikes Welcome’s strategy and priorities. If you’d like to be part of that or have ideas to share, please do let me know.
Survey participants had the option to enter a prize draw to win a copy of Alastair Smith’s book Everyday Cycling in New Zealand Aotearoa, kindly donated by Awa Press. The following people are the lucky winners: Adrian Field, Carolyn Lyon, Flavia Machado, Paula Luijken and Simon Kingham. Thanks to everyone who participated.