Monday, 26 November 2012

South Gloucs gets a Bike Aid scheme

From the website

South Gloucs businesses install emergency cycle kits for commuter cyclists

Kits include locks, lights and high-vis gear, as well as repair tools

South Gloucestershire firms have grouped together to create emergency bike first aid kits - that they hope will encourage staff to cycle to work.

More than 20 firms along the A4174 ring road - which represent around 40,000 staff members and 30,000 students, have cooperated to deposit specialist kits at workplaces.

These include essential cycle maintenance tools and spare equipment such as lights, locks and high-visibility jackets, to help out riders who might otherwise be stranded when they forget something.

The employers involved include Airbus, HP, Mitie, Friends Life and the Bristol & Bath Science Park, as well as the University of the West of England and NHS Blood & Transplant.

The scheme was introduced by North Bristol SusCom, which stands for 'Sustainable Commuting' and is a partnership between local businesses.

SusCom Director Ann O’Driscoll said: "We all recognise the importance of sustainable transport, such as cycling, as a way of reducing congestion and promoting healthy lifestyles.

"Cycling to work is a great way to get fit and save money and this scheme aims to make it as easy as possible for staff to do this.

"Flat tyres or forgotten locks can be a big nuisance for cyclists and this scheme aims to encourage people to bike to work in the knowledge that help is at hand should it be needed."

SusCom also operate a pool bike scheme for businesses.

The National Composite Centre at the Bristol & Bath Science Park is one of many local employers to have recently taken delivery of a kit. Chief Executive Peter Chivers said: “The NCC is fully committed to providing our employees with sustainable and healthy travel to work alternatives.

“As a keen cyclist myself I had the misfortune of two punctures on my way to work by bike this summer. I can understand the impact and challenge that making a repair can make and the additional time which can impact on the working day.

“The NCC is therefore really pleased to participate in the scheme because it gives a win all round, benefitting the environment, the employee and the business.”

Cllr Brian Allinson, chairman of South Gloucestershire Council’s planning, transportation and strategic environment committee, said: "Many people live within three or five miles of their workplace, making cycling an ideal means of getting to work.

"And with recent investment in cycle routes in South Gloucestershire, there has never been a better time for people to get on their bike – especially with the added reassurance that any minor maintenance problems can be resolved when they get there, thanks to this excellent emergency kit scheme."


Suffolk Bike Aid got in touch with North Bristol SusCom to tell them about what we do in Suffolk and they kindly sent along images of the kit and the poster that goes up where kits are kept.

When we asked about adding their sites to our map, we were told these kits are aimed at employees and visitors to the company sites. SusCom did talk to providers about having more open access to the kits but security is pretty tight on many of their sites so it makes it difficult for the general public to access them. The kits are worth nearly £100 so they are usually kept with security and signed out when used but SusCom agrees with Bike Aid there is great benefit in having smaller cheaper kits at more publicly accessible locations and will make that suggestion to local councils and other partners.

Suffolk Bike Aid is elated that this effort has been made and considers it further vindication of the feasibility of our scheme. We hope local councils and employers can understand they don't need to invest very much to get any bike aid kit scheme going, people just need encouragement and assurance that Jobsworths won't interfere. There's a tendency to over-engineer the process.

New kits can be provided for £2 each and could be treated as disposable or provided for sale but our preference is that kits are used to build social capital and recycle surplus materials.