ABU DHABI // Companies are encouraging their employees to go to work on two wheels rather than four with the help of a novel bicycle toolkit.
Instead of showing how to change a puncture or a broken chain, the Toolkit for Organisations, distributed by the Department of Transport Abu Dhabi, explains how and why firms should participate in The National's Cycle to Work initiative taking place on Tuesday, January 12, with tips on how to emphasise the health and environmental benefits.
“Last year, we used the campaign to encourage participation among our employees but this year we are helping approximately 60 organisations engage their workers,” said Suhaib Al Marzouqi, section head of the Transport Mobility Management division.
Mr Al Marzouqi said almost all of the organisations approached by the DoT were interested and keen to be involved but were unsure of how to go about it.
“The toolkit serves as a guide letting them know the best way to encourage their employees,” he said.
Some of the suggestions include educating employees on the proper use of bicycles through safety and maintenance sessions, organising cycling activities before the event to increase confidence and familiarity with their bikes and providing employees who take part with a reward such as breakfast.
The toolkit also highlighted The National's Cycle to Work photo prize draw as a way to further involve the workforce.
Mr Al Marzouqi said another way the toolkit provides guidance is to highlight the routes where employees could safely ride on dedicated bicycle lanes.
He said as the DoT’s Walking and Cycling Master Plan is working on extending safe walking and cycling corridors it is important to build a culture of biking while the infrastructure was being developed.
“Why develop a state-of-the-art infrastructure and not have many people use it. The masterplan’s goal is to engage people to use sustainable methods of travel, whether it’s cycling, walking, carpooling to using public buses. This will also lead to a reduction in congestion and increase in the public’s health.”
A more long-term solution to encourage cycling is the provision of shower and changing facilities at company premises, said Mr Al Marzouqi.
“Another important measure is to ensure workers were more aware of their health. For example, one of our events included bringing in people from SEHA for blood tests. This gave them a better idea of what their cholesterol and blood sugar levels were.”
An avid cyclist, Mr Marzouqi makes full use of the bicycle lanes around his Shakhbout city neighbourhood as well as cycling at the Yas Marina Circuit.
He said promoting cycling as a leisure activity was important.
“Our approach is to encourage people to use bikes for leisure purposes after their working hours. Then, step-by-step, we hope it becomes the main method of transport.”