More people pedalling to work

MAJOR employers have reported large increases in the number of people travelling to work by bicycle.

Anthony Bond

MAJOR employers have reported large increases in the number of people travelling to work by bicycle.

Suffolk County Council and bosses at Adastral Park in Martlesham Heath are seeing large increases in the number of people turning to pedal power instead of cars.

And as the economic downturn results in falling motor sales, bicycle sales are doing the opposite - with one local company recording an increase of 70% in the number it is dispatching.

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At Adastral Park, home to numerous companies including BT, there has been an 8% rise in the number of staff who cycle to work since June 2008 - taking the total figure to 16.2%.

On Wednesday Grass Routes - the site's travel plan - won the Suffolk County Council Greenest Business Travel award.

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It currently has 17 shelters with more than 500 parking spaces for bikes, with expansion needed all the time.

Andrew Cassy, Adastral Park travel plan manager, said: “We are looking at reducing the number of cars that come onto the site with single drivers in them and we are trying to encourage people to take more sustainable modes of travel. We are constantly increasing facilities because more and more people are cycling.”

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council portfolio holder for roads and transport, said there had been an increase in the use of bicycles by employees to headquarters at Endeavour House in Ipswich.

“The council is putting lots of effort into making it easier for people to cycle,” he said. “At Endeavour House we have had to extend the parking space for employees who cycle to work by three-fold and now we have power points for people who have bikes which require electric power.”

Mr McGregor said he thinks that - as well as the economic downturn - the increase in pushbike use is a combination of factors including quicker journey times in rush-hour and to improve fitness.

“Certainly it is something where, rather than going to a gym, you can use a pushbike to travel to work,” he said. “Using a push bike is no longer seen as the last refuge off people with no other mode of transport and in many ways it is becoming more fashionable.”

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