Cycle Friendly Employers

This article was published in 1999, in Newsletter 22.

David Meiklejohn, Co-ordinator for the Cycle Friendly Employer scheme
Image as described adjacent

David Meiklejohn is the new Cycle Friendly Employers Co-ordinator in Cambridge. David, a former journalist who changed careers through a Masters of Environmental Studies in his native Australia, has since worked for Cambridge-based campaign group, Baby Milk Action, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Here he explains why the Cycle Friendly Employers Scheme is important and what you can do to support and expand it.

Traffic congestion is costing UK business an estimated £15-£20 billion annually. With the Government foreshadowing congestion and parking charges in the near future, the time is ripe for employers to change their practices before having to pay.

Since July 1995, the Cambridge Cycle Friendly Employers Scheme – of which the Cambridge Cycling Campaign is a steering group key member – has sought to coax employers and their staff away from the car. So far, 25 companies, university departments, health bodies and local authorities have joined and are working to improve facilities and boost the culture of cycling within their workplaces.

A range of changes

Some employers install new, good quality cycle parking, upgrade old stands and put in showers or changing facilities if requested. Most improve support for both the regular and potential cyclist alike, for instance through the development of bicycle user groups (BUGs). At the moment, employers involved in the scheme are busy drawing up company cycle plans. These plans should be completed by the end of March and will set out objectives believed to be achievable within the workplace.

Each employer has a cycle co-ordinator who stays in contact with the other members of the Cycle Friendly Employers Scheme. The co-ordinator is encouraged to establish a BUG within the workplace to act as a forum for ideas about what can be improved and how to go about it, as well as a form of support for the co-ordinator. The idea is that it should not just be a lonely cyclist battling against a car culture but a group of like-minded people coming together to develop innovative and exciting ideas to promote cycling to, from and for work.

Building support

It’s important to get the support of management throughout this process as this is often key to ensuring the success of the scheme. Employers may sometimes be sceptical about the merits of being involved but there are tremendous advantages to having more staff cycling to work. For example:

  • it improves the health of those who do
  • overcomes the problem of them being delayed in traffic either on the way to the workplace or on the way to meetings elsewhere
  • can bring savings in the cost of parking provision
  • is rarely as expensive to implement as managers may fear and many of the costs can be offset against tax.

The steps involved in getting an employer to sign up to the scheme and improving the culture of cycling are set out in a Good Practice Guide, compiled by Anne Taylor, the original Co-ordinator of the Cycle Friendly Employers Scheme. The guide, which is due out soon, will incorporate many of the lessons learned during the three-and-a-half years the scheme has been running and will be invaluable for potential cycle co-ordinators… and this is where you come in!

At present, we are concentrating on implementing company cycle plans for those already in the scheme but from April we are looking to expand the scheme by signing up new employers. Often, Campaign members are among the most enthusiastic and knowledgeable advocates for cycling within the scheme and are ideal to help promote cycling to their colleagues. If you think you would be interested in becoming a co-ordinator for your place of work or would just like to know more about what’s involved, please phone me on 475136, write to me at

Cambridge and Huntingdon Health Authority
Hillview, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge CB1 5EF
or e-mail me –

The Cambridge Cycling Campaign website includes recent newsletters of the Cycle Friendly Employers Scheme as well as information about its associated scheme, Travel for Work.

It’s an exciting time to be promoting cycling in Cambridge, but we need your help to make it a success. Contact me and get involved!

David Meiklejohn

The contact for the Travel for Work scheme is

Teresa Broadstock, Travel For Work Advisor
Cambridge and Huntingdon Health Authority
Hillview, Fulbourn Hospital
Cambridge CB1 5EF
phone 475131