Employer says you can’t ride to work?

I stumbled across the following in my daily bike newsfeed… presenting KC metro area motivational speaker and bicycle commuter Corinna West with a lengthy and well-researched essay entitled “How to overcome your employer bicycle commuting objections“.

Such a thing has never happened to me, and I hope it never happens to you…but I can see how some employers, fueled by a well-meaning but misguided sense of concern for an employee’s safety or the fear of liability, could try to put the kibosh on two-wheeled transportation to and from the workplace. If such a thing happens, Ms. West’s article provides the ammo and gentle persuasions to help overcome the situation. Take a look at it by clicking here.

We’ve recently discussed whether bike commuting can seem unprofessional, and this issue sort of goes hand in hand with that — one of many potential hurdles a bike commuter may have to face when choosing two wheels over four.

We’d love to hear if any of you out there in reader-land have faced such challenges…please leave your stories, comments and thoughts below.


  1. Chris (@PavementsEdge) January 19, 2012 8:42 am 

    I have a fairly cyclo-friendly workplace. But I am cognizant of the fact that attitudes can change, and I do my best to keep a low profile and low impact on my co-workers and the cleaning staff (I keep my bike in my cubicle).

    I could see how showing up for work sweaty and out of breath could seem unprofessional. It really depends on the job, and I know a lot of people typically picture a cubicle monkey like myself as the normal bicycle commuter, but the reality is that you see a lot of grocery store baggers, fast food workers, and even manual laborers hauling buckets of tools. Its not just a hip and trendy thing to do. Many people do it because they have few other transportation choices. That is the real reason I do it.

    There are times my commuting puts demands on my co-workers and superiors that I worry will cause a negative backlash. If a snowstorm moves in during the day I typically ask to leave early. There are times I’ve been late because of cold temperatures or excessive snow. And sometimes I forget crucial wardrobe items and look less than professional. I try to keep things in perspective for myself and everyone else by pointing out that these things happen to motorists too, its just more noticeable in the office environment when the “crazy” bike commuter is subject to them.

    For example, any time I’ve been late for a flat tire I point out that if I had been driving a car and had a flat it would have taken significantly longer to fix and I would have been more late. And I conceded the reality that riding a bike, I experience more flats than I ever did driving. But I also tend to be early for work, while my co-workers who drive struggle to show up on time.

    So overall, the attitude in my workplace is favorable. But with a regime change that could change. I’ve been told that not so many years ago there was a policy of no bikes in the building at all.

  2. 2whls3spds January 19, 2012 5:58 pm 

    Unfortunately in much of the US there is still a bias against bikes. If you ride one it must be because you A)Lost your license due to a DUI or B) you are a loser who can’t afford a car. I went car free for many years and faced those biases, even though I had a much better attendance and on time record than 98% of the people at my work place, I even received awards for two years of no absences. But because it isn’t considered normal you stand out.

    I honestly believe that if someone got fired for riding a bicycle versus driving a car they should file a lawsuit, and I am not one to suggest something like that normally.


  3. BluesCat January 20, 2012 7:55 am 

    My employer participates in the Maricopa County Trip Reduction Program. A history of poor air quality in Phoenix, and the surrounding cities, was the primary stimulus for this program. So I am actually ENCOURAGED to ride my bike to work.

    Through my company, I get a discount at a gym which is in the same building as our offices. Showering up after a sweaty ride in on summer mornings is no problem.

    My company, in essence, uses my bike commuting as sort of an advertisement about how we are involved in the community in a positive way.

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