In Ireland, up to 61.4% of commuters travel to work by car (CSO, 2016). That is a staggering amount given that, according to the CSO, almost 69% of Irish work-related journeys were journeys of less than 8 kilometres.
In fact, using a car for short commutes seems to be a trend across the globe. For example, in GB, 68% of commuters travel by car, but 68% of these car journeys were under 5 miles long (Gov.uk, 2020).
Whilst driving can be a viable option for longer journeys, deciding to switch up how you commute to work, particularly those lucky enough to have shorter commutes, is the perfect opportunity to explore healthier, eco-friendly, time saving and cost-effective modes of transport.
That’s why, across the country, more and more businesses are investing in Cycle to Work initiatives - a means of getting the employees who can to use a bicycle to get to and from work.
As you may have guessed, here at See.Sense, we’re passionate about making cycling accessible to as many people as possible. That’s why we developed our very own Commuter Platform, a scheme that provides businesses with our See.Sense patented smart bike lights for their cycle to work schemes.
It’s a win for employees who can save time and money, improve their overall health, and reduce their carbon footprint by commuting by bike, all while knowing they have our See.Sense smart lights to keep them seen on the roads
It’s a win for employers who can benefit from healthy employees, cut costs, and lower and track their scope 3 emissions for environmental reports thanks to See.Sense smart light data
It’s also a win for the governing bodies of the places that people are cycling in, to and from, as the See.Sense smart lights help to collect data on cycling in the area that can be used to improve local infrastructure
Sound tempting? Need a bit more convincing? Well, let’s take a closer look at why you should get more of your employees onto bikes…
How does cycling to work benefit me, an employer?
Cycling employees help employers to achieve Net Zero
In 2021, businesses were responsible for 22% of Ireland's greenhouse gas emissions (SEAI,2022).
With the impacts of climate change becoming increasingly evident in everyday life, it’s becoming more and more important for businesses to take actions to lessen their environmental impact. In fact, government bodies are already taking measures to monitor corporate impacts on the environment.
Perhaps the clearest example of this yet is the EU’s decision to make ESG reporting (corporate disclosure that details the environmental, social and governance promises, efforts and progress of an organisation) mandatory for large companies within the EU from 2023.
Among the data to be reported in this ESG reporting is a company’s Scope 3 emissions, the emissions resulting from the activities of assets not owned or controlled by the reporting organisation, but that the organisation indirectly affects in its value chain (einride, 2023). Often, these emissions represent a company’s largest source of emissions (GGP, 2023), but they can be difficult to quantify.
Not only does the package encourage bike use to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, but the See.Sense patented lights collect aggregated, quantifiable data insights regarding the business’s Scope 3 emissions that employers can use in their ESG reports. This makes life a lot easier when it comes to writing yours!
Implementing such a scheme doesn't just benefit the planet, it benefits the business by showcasing a dedication to reducing carbon emissions, promoting green transportation, and actively contributing to a sustainable future. By getting those of your employees that can get onto their bikes onto their bikes, your company becomes a change maker, an unstoppable force in eco-development that makes the business even more attractive to forward-thinking, eco-conscious clients and potential recruits. In our eyes, that’s a huge win for businesses.
Healthy employees are productive employees
It comes as no surprise that ensuring that your employees are healthy physically and mentally is in the best interest of any and all companies; after all, having healthy employees is better for business!
First off, physically healthy employees take less sick days. In fact, studies in the UK have shown that on average, employees that commute by bike take one less sick day per year than non-cyclists and save the UK economy almost £83m (Bikeweek, 2023).Those are some significant savings!
Secondly, studies have also shown that increased physical activity also helps to keep employees mentally healthy. In turn, mentally healthy employees are often more productive and feel more success and fulfilment in their work (HSE, 2021). This means that they can complete their best work, so long as they have the right support to do so.
That’s where cycling to work comes in!
Cycling to work is a great way for employees to integrate physical activity into their already busy work day. As a full-body workout that helps to improve cardiovascular health, cycling is also a proven aid to improving mental health by helping to relieve stress and anxiety through the release of endorphins such as serotonin and dopamine (BMJ Open, 2017).
Therefore, by introducing a cycle to work scheme, employers are investing in their workforce's health and in turn, productivity and success.
The Significant Cost Benefits of Cycling To Work
All of the above leads to the biggest question - the cost benefits.
We’ve already seen that the health benefits of cycling to work can help to make your employees more productive and can significantly cut down on absenteeism, but that’s not the only way that a cycle-to-work scheme can save a company money.
Implementing a cycle-to-work scheme can also help businesses to cut costs when it comes to infrastructure. Encouraging employees to cycle to work can help reduce the demand for parking spaces that are expensive to construct, operate and maintain. Whilst the installation or upgrading of bike parking may require an initial investment, the long term savings that come from avoiding the production of car parking facilities are worthwhile.
On top of this, many countries, including the UK and Ireland, offer tax incentives and benefits for businesses that implement cycle-to-work schemes. As part of this scheme, employers can take advantage of tax relief measures that allow employees to purchase bicycles and related equipment through salary sacrifice schemes. These schemes provide a tax-efficient way for employees to obtain bicycles, and businesses can benefit from reduced employer PRSI (Pay Related Social Insurance) contributions (more can be seen about these schemes on the Irish Gov and UK Gov websites.
It’s therefore clear that engaging in a cycle to work scheme (in particular, a cycle to work scheme with the help of See.Sense’s Commuter Platform) has clear advantages for employers.
But as we said, it’s not just the employer that wins in a cycle to work scheme, so do employees!
So, what are the advantages for employees considering switching to a bike for their morning commute?
How does cycling to work benefit me, an employee?
Cycling Can Help Employees Save Time On Short Commutes
On average, we spend around 38hrs every year waiting in traffic (MGEP, 2017). For those of us living in big cities, this can go up to 50hrs. That’s two whole days of your life, per year, spent sitting in traffic! Couple this with the fact that most motorists spend around four days a year looking for a parking space (Telegraph, 2017), and that’s almost a week of your life, per year, sat stressing about how you’re going to be late for work in your car.
Between heavy traffic and parking, those of us with shorter commutes can save a lot of time by cycling to work thanks to the ability to avoid heavy congestion by using bike lanes and parking up in dedicated parking facilities.
What’s more, if your business partners with See.Sense in their cycle to work scheme, employees can benefit from the high visibility provided by our smart bike lights. In particular, our ICON3 rear light gives cyclists a 270° range of visibility from up to 3km away, helping them to stay seen in morning and evening traffic and get to where they’re going quicker as a result.
Whether a quicker commute means you get an extra half hour in bed in the morning, or you get home to your loved ones quicker in the evening, that seems like a huge plus to us.
Cycling to Work helps employees reduce their carbon footprint
With more and more of us suffering from climate anxiety, finding ways to be kinder to the planet is at the forefront of many of our minds. Luckily, switching from driving to cycling is the perfect way to implement an eco-friendly habit into our day.
It’s simple - Transport emissions make up 18% of Ireland’s CO2 output.
A bike’s CO2 output is dependent on its user's diet (the fuel) and the carbon emissions released during the manufacturing and delivery process, emissions that can be very quickly offset simply by using the bike.
Therefore, while it would be untrue to say that bikes make up 0% of a country’s carbon emissions, it is true that cycling saves at least 90% of CO2 emissions compared to driving, and is a sustainable practice in that it offsets the carbon that it emits (Discerning Cyclist, 2023).
What’s even better is that if your employer signs up to a cycle to work scheme in association with See.Sense, you even get access to Ride Stats that help you to track the amount of CO2 you’ve saved by cycling, helping you to beat your environmental blues.
The Huge Health Benefits of Cycling To Work
It's no secret that regular exercise is essential for maintaining good health, but finding time for workouts amidst a busy schedule can be challenging. That’s where cycling to work becomes your best friend.
We could go into a list of reasons how choosing to pedal instead of sitting behind the wheel for the daily commutes can positively affect your health, or we could just tell you that studies have proven that those that cycle to work have a 41% lower risk of dying from all causes (BMJ, 2017). Yes, you read that right. ALL causes.
Cycling for your commute also gives employees the opportunity to help get fitter through routine exercise. This low-impact sport, when completed on a regular basis, does wonders for thigh, calf and glute toning. What’s more, yet another advantage of your employer participating in the See.SenseCommuter Platform is that those previously mentioned Ride Stats even allow you to monitor your calories (and bananas) you’ve burned off, helping you to achieve your fitness goals.
But it doesn’t just end there; cycling is also incredibly beneficial to your mental health. Not only does cycling for your commute give you a moment to yourself in the fresh air before getting into the office, but a study in Science Direct showed that aerobic exercise can significantly reduce feelings of anxiety. With less anxiety, you have more headspace to enjoy the endorphins and other mood-enhancing chemicals that are released when cycling.
This means that when you choose to cycle to work, you can turn up with a clearer head and a clearer heart that will help you in and outside of the office.
Cycling To Work Is Often Much Cheaper Than Driving
Any of us who drive know how expensive it is to run a car. First, there is the price of the car itself. Then, let’s add on the cost of vehicle tax and the MOT or NCT (let’s also add in the ensuing costs of preparing your car for its MOT or NCT). We’re not done there though, you still can’t bring your vehicle onto the road without car insurance.
Should we also add the initial cost of your driving lessons, theory test and practical test? What about the price of renting your driving instructor’s car for the test, and the inevitable costs of the times you have to do it all again if we don’t pass first go?
All together, running your car can cost a small fortune, and we haven’t even filled the tank yet.
In comparison to this mountain of charges above, even splurging out on a relatively good quality bike and some lovely cycling accessories (such as those available on the See.Sense store) for your daily commutes can be a more affordable option, especially if your company decides to opt-in to a cycle-to-work scheme that helps to subsidise your bike.
In particular, the Ride Stats accessible through a See.Sense associated cycle-to-work scheme allow cyclists to see how much fuel they’ve saved by riding a bike instead of driving, thus allowing cyclists to track how much they’ve saved for their own budgets.
To us, those sound like some significant benefits !
Let’s go over it one last time; How does the See.SenseCommuter Platform help employers and employees with their cycle to work schemes?
When employers implement a See.SenseCommuter Platforminto their cycle to work schemes, as we’ve seen above, it benefits everyone.
Here’s the breakdown - See.Sense provides award winning smart-bike lights that keep employees safe whilst commuting and give them access to personalised Ride Stats, as well as a host of other features such as Theft Alerts and Crash Alerts via our innovative See.Sense App. Meanwhile, the smart lights collect data on usage and CO2 emissions, as well as information regarding close passes, areas of dangerous road and areas of efficient cycling infrastructure.
In doing so, businesses unlock a data dashboard that can be utilised for mandatory environmental reporting and employee engagement programmes. Meanwhile, data gathered about city infrastructure is fed back to participating cities so that they can improve their local areas, improving the cycling experience for everyone.
The See.Sense Commuter Platform is therefore the best way to get more out of your cycle to work scheme, and our collaborate Commuter Package with Cycling Ireland is just one example of how our respected technology is helping to make a difference in cycle-to-work schemes everywhere.
So let’s summarise…
In short, there are countless benefits to making the switch from driving to cycling for commutes; benefits for employees and for employers. If you’re an employee hoping to convince your employers to introduce a cycle to work scheme, or an employer hoping to introduce one, See.Sense can help you.
Get ahead of the trend and get involved in the difference by checking out our page on our Commuter Platform.