Planet Bike Awarded Platinum Bicycle Friendly Business by the League of American Bicyclists

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Planet Bike is no stranger to advocacy efforts. Just this past April they awarded grants to six non-profit bicycle advocacy organizations, read more about that here. And in 2010 they were awarded Gold for all their efforts that year.

Being awarded Platinum is the highest recognition in the League’s Bicycle Friendly Business program and Planet bike is among a group of only 42 other companies in the United States to have earned the Platinum distinction.

The League of American Bicyclists is the nation’s oldest bicycle advocacy organization and the goal of their BFB program is to encourage and assist businesses to create more bicycle-friendly workplaces. The hope is that when companies make more accommodations for bicyclists, employees are healthier, happier and more committed to sustainable business practices.

Marketing Manager Jereme Noffke stated in regards to Planet Bike achieving this honor “I think in some cases for companies in the industry we forget about how it feels to get started into the endeavor of bike commuting or it has been so long since the beginning for some of us that it becomes the norm. So we really focused on removing the “barrier to entry” for new or current employees looking to start into bike commuting which is the focus of two programs which have increased participation: Bike Buddy & Wrench Buddy.”

The Bike Buddy program is when a new employee joins Planet Bike, or an existing employee requests it, a fellow employee will be assigned as their “Bike Buddy”. Being a Bike Buddy includes:

  • Arranging bike review with a Wrench Buddy (see below).
  • Advising on appropriate bike gear for current and upcoming seasons (critical to promoting year around bike commuting in a four-season climate such as WI).
  • Mapping bike routes between home, work and other key destinations in the employee’s life.
  • Accompany employee from home to work for several days to lean routes, etc… (as needed).

The Wrench Buddy program offers an opportunity to work with fellow employees with knowledge of bicycle mechanics and will assist an employee to perform minor fixes and adjustments to their own bicycle:

  • Tune-up on an existing bike the employee is going to use or advising on the purchase of a new (or used) bike that will best fit the employees needs.
  • Education on basic maintenance. i.e. how to fix a flat, check tire pressure, brake pad wear, brake connection, installing/removing the front or rear tire, chain wear and maintenance
  • Basic understanding of tools on our work bench and what they are used for.
  • monthly bike check for the first three months of commuting (or as needed).
  • Advising or assisting on more significant tune-up of an existing bike.

On top of these two programs, Planet Bikes also has staff volunteer days. A couple examples are for Madison organizations such as Free Bikes 4 Kidz and Wheels for Winners.

Keep up the amazing work Planet Bike and congratulations on a well deserved Platinum Award!

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Does your place of work offer bicycle friendly programs? Let’s discuss in the comments below!

 

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Bike Jams: A Copenhagen Reality

Words by Jeffrey Stern

In 2016, the capital of Denmark reported more bicycles entering the city than cars, an astonishing fact. Research conducted by the Copenhagen government suggests that nearly half of the residents of the cycling friendly city bike to work or school on a daily basis.

Since the number of cyclists in Copenhagen has grown so rapidly over the last decade, the city government has recently decided to install electronic information panels along critical bike routes. The main goal being to help alleviate ‘bike jams’ during the heaviest traffic hours during the morning and evening commutes. Although with the number of bikes covering city streets, these jams can happen at nearly any hour of the day.

Copenhagen bike lane jam. Photo by Richard Evans.

Copenhagen bike lane jam. Photo by Richard Evans.

Considered to be the world’s first electronic traffic information displays for bicycles, five screens are to be installed at critical places throughout Copenhagen’s 240-mile network of protected bike lanes, “There’s a need for improved accessibility for the growing number of cyclists who unfortunately in many places are now having to fight for space on the bike lane,” said Morten Kabell, head of the city’s technology and environment department to Danmarks Radio.

The Copenhagen government hopes that the new electronic information boards will give cyclists the information they need to choose the least congested route for their trips through the city. These e-signs will also have information on road construction projects, special events that could affect traffic and distances to points of interest. Each one costs around $633,494 to purchase and install.

Copenhagen traffic signs. Photo by Troels Heien.

Copenhagen traffic signs. Photo by Troels Heien.

Detailed in the city’s Bicycle Statement 2017, Copenhagen’s residents cycled 869,920 miles per day in 2016, with 41% of those miles coming in the form of school or work commuting trips.

For the first time ever in 2016, the city reported the number of cyclists entering the city center outnumbered cars on a daily basis by 13,100; 265,700 bicycles to only 252,600 cars. A notable reason why many consider Denmark and Copenhagen at the forefront in the movement of alternative transportation. The Bicycle Statement study was first conducted nearly half-century ago, in 1970, and recorded roughly 100,000 bikes while counting 340,000 cars that year.

“With the number of cyclists in Copenhagen now, we have a congestion problem,” traffic researcher from Aalborg University Niels Agerholm said to Danmarks Radio. “If there is an easier way through, signs like these could get people to change direction.”

Copenhagen sign placement

Copenhagen sign placement

The infamous Queen Louise bridge is arguably the most used bike-only bridge in the world, seeing roughly 40,000 cyclists cross it’s span every day and experiences frequent ‘bike jams.’

Bridge jam. Photo by Antoine Améaume

Bridge jam. Photo by Antoine Améaume

In addition to the new screens, the city is building more bike-only bridges, widening current lanes, improving intersection signaling and continuing feature rollouts for their one of a kind route-planning app, ibikecph. The app suggests not only the swiftest routes around town, but can guide users around cobblestone and more dangerous streets. New, green routes ideal for cargo bikes, younger and older riders are doubling in size to nearly 75-miles of options, further encouraging cycling amongst all age groups and abilities. The app, released in 2013 has been downloaded more than 60,000 times.

Over the past 20 years, bike traffic has increased by 68 percent in the bustling Scandinavian country, one of the largest jumps anywhere in the world. If forecasts are correct, growth is not expected to slow. The annual Bike Statement report predicts daily bike traffic across the city to increase another 25 percent by 2025.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

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