Employers set to see huge rise in Cycle to Work scheme applications
The end of the £1,000 cap on bike purchases through the government’s Cycle to Work scheme, combined with official guidance not to use public transport, will place a greater demand on businesses to retrofit bike storage facilities for employees.
Many business premises, including public and educational facilities, are ill-prepared for the increase of employees and visitors turning to cycling as an alternative to commuting by public transport following COVID-19, according to Robert Hawgood of Landmark Street Furniture.
His company, based in Mid Wales, is already seeing a rise in enquiries for cycle storage systems, racks and other equipment from companies, many of which are in London, as they prepare to welcome staff back to work after the easing of lockdown restrictions.
A need to retrofit safe bicycle storage facilities
“The government has estimated that cycling has risen by more than 200 per cent since the start of the COVID-19 situation and lockdown,” explained Robert.
“That’s mainly driven by people turning to cycling for exercise and to adhere to the government’s advice to not use public transport at this time.
“The only problem is that most existing business premises do not have adequate or secure cycle storage facilities and will need to consider retrofitting such systems where they can.”
Significant increase in commuters cycling
Robert said the number of employees cycling to work would rise significantly due to the £1,000 cap on the cost of a bike purchased through the government’s Cycle to Work scheme being scrapped.
“Employees can now receive up to 40 per cent off the purchase of a new bicycle through the scheme with no limit on the cost of the bike or equipment, such as helmets and other equipment,” he said.
“This enhances the incentive to buy a bike that people can use for commuting and leisure.”
Employees can spread the cost of the bike over a period of time and employers can recover the full cost of the bike, in addition to saving National Insurance Contributions of up to 13.8 per cent of the bike’s cost.
Additionally, electric E-Bikes have also been added to the list of bicycles that can be purchased through the scheme.
Bicycle repair vouchers will increase cycling use
Another government scheme providing £50 vouchers to have existing bikes repaired is also expected to see cycling numbers grow over the coming months. The Fix Your Bike scheme is expected to provide up to half a million such vouchers.
This is part of the £2billion the government has said it will invest into cycling, such as the creation of more bike lanes and pop-up bike lanes.
Last month the UK Government has committed to an emergency active travel fund of £250million to create pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cyclists as part of the first stage of £2billion investment from a £5billion commitment for cycling and buses.
Cities including London, Birmingham, Leicester, Bristol, Sheffield and others are already setting up temporary cycle paths before permanent routes are created.
192% increase in bicycle sales
The increase in cycling has been highlighted with a 192 per cent jump in sales since lockdown began, according to some retailers.
“The surge in cycling will result in demand for safe places to store bikes in towns and cities. Employers and landlords can retrofit such systems into their buildings. Cycle racks, such as two-tier systems, wall hanging, semi-vertical and floor racks can be easily installed within buildings where space allows,” said Robert.
“Alternatively, covered and uncovered cycle racks and stores can be installed in car parks or other outside areas.”
Similarly, educational establishments, retail centres, town centres, railway stations and other public areas will also need additional cycle storage facilities.
Landmark Street Furniture is one of the leading suppliers and installers of secure bike storage systems and street furniture in the UK, working with multi-national blue-chip companies through to small and medium-sized businesses, colleges and universities, shopping centres and the public sector.
Based at Caersws, Powys, in Mid Wales, it has customers throughout the UK and provides a one-stop-shop for the planning, design and installation of products including access control, anti-skate studs, bollards, canopies and walkways, landscape structure and buildings, litter control and COVID-19 distancing products.
More details can be found at www.landmarkstreetfuriture.com