These are the results of research by TNO into the relation between commuting by bicycle, work performance and absenteeism. Among employees of three major Dutch organisations an electronic survey was conducted into commuting to work by bicycle in relation to health and work performance. Afterwards data on absenteeism of the respondents were provided by the employers, for the year preceding the questionnaire.
Of the 1236 employees 64% cycled to work regularly, and 36% did not cycle at all. Regular commuters missed significantly fewer days a year than non-cyclists: on average 7,4 days a year (cyclists) compared to 8,7 days a year (non-cyclists). There was also a relation between distance and frequency of the commute and the degree of absenteeism: the more often and the greater the distance, the lower the absenteeism. If the number of employees cycling to work would increase by 1%, regular commuting by bicycle would translate into savings of approximately 27 million Euro for employers, as calculated by TNO.
Health proved to be the main reason for regular cyclists to commute by bicycle. To non-cyclists the major impediments, apart from the distance being too great to cycle, were the weather and arriving at work all sweaty. They indicated that living closer to work as well as a decrease in commuting time in comparison with other transport modalities might induce them into commuting by bicycle.
Of the 879 participating HR-managers 48% stated their company promotes commuting by bicycle. This occurs mainly by providing facilities such as showers and bicycle parking. The three main ways of encouraging companies to stimulate commuting by bicycle were:
• Government subsidies, such as raising the gross amount to be spent on a company bicycle;
• Knowledge into the profits of these type of investments;
• Co-operation with a company to professionally stimulate commuting by bicycle. Over three-quarters of respondents were unfamiliar with the current campaigns or organisations stimulating commuting to work by bicycle.