12 October 2010

Carbon Trust Reverses Anti-Bicycle Stance

London Turn

Thanks to an unexpectedly large number of re-tweets and re-posts and not least to Carlton Reid over at BikeBiz it appears that Carbon Trust is having second thoughts about their anti-bicycle stance - which we wrote about yesterday.

In this email sent round to employees this afternoon we can see a change of heart/ volte face :

"Since Friday’s email from a Health & Safety perspective regarding the use of bicycles for business travel we have been contacted by a number of staff seeking clarification on our overall position on cycling. Due to a number of recent serious accidents related to staff cycling the email was cautionary as we were reviewing our approach.

Our overall position on cycling has always been positive and we have always been supportive of taking the low carbon choice when travelling. To encourage staff to cycle we have provided access to cycle safety training, secure cycle storage (in place of car parking spaces), cycle maintenance, access to the Cycle To Work Scheme and showering facilities in our office.

Having reviewed our approach we want to clarify our overall support for staff using bicycles for business travel. This applies to staff using their own bicycles or those hired for business travel. Furthermore staff wishing to travel by bicycle will be reimbursed through travel expenses as we do other forms of transport.

We recognise there are specific health and safety issues with travelling by bicycle and therefore any staff wishing to travel by bicycle for business travel must comply with the following:

1. Staff must feel competent and confident in their ability to cycle for business travel (training is available).

2. The bicycle being used is properly maintained to a safe standard.

3. Appropriate safety equipment is worn at all times – a proper cycle helmet, high visibility clothing and front and rear lights.

We hope this clarifies the situation. Thank you."


Regarding #3, there is no helmet compulsion in the UK so wouldn't that be tricky to enforce that one? What is the legal background for making helmets mandatory when there is no law? And why does Carbon Trust not recommend Motoring Helmets for travel in cars or taxis? Doesn't make much sense.

Apart from that, it's nice to see Carbon Trust wake up and smell the bicycles.

Addendum:
Just found an email in my inbox from Carbon Trust's Head of Corporate Communications and Stakeholder Engagement:

Dear Copenhagenize,
In relation to your recent coverage of our position on cycling and using bicycles for business travel, the email did not clearly communicate our position and I have included below our statement that I hope will clarify things.

The Carbon Trust actively encourages staff to take the low carbon option for business travel. As part of this we support cycling and actively encourage our employees to cycle by providing access to cycle safety training, secure cycle storage, cycle maintenance, access to the Cycle To Work Scheme and shower facilities in our office. The recent email to our staff was sent out of our duty of care for their health a safety, which is something we take very seriously, after a number of recent serious accidents related to staff cycling. Having reviewed our approach we support our staff in using bicycles for business travel as long as they feel competent to do so, the bicycle they are using is properly maintained and they are wearing the appropriate safety equipment at all times – a proper cycle helmet, high visibility clothing and front and rear lights. We will be reimbursing staff for cycle travel as we do for other forms of transport.