Bronze for the European Parliament
The European Parliament was awarded a bronze Cycle Friendly Employer Certificate in December 2021 for its efforts to encourage employees to cycle to work. How does an employer become cycle friendly? We asked mobility manager Blaise Vanopdenbosch.
What place does cycling have in the Parliament's mobility plan?
"We have been encouraging staff members to use bicycles for service trips for almost 20 years. The Parliament's buildings and the institutions we work with in Brussels are close together. Therefore, cycling is the fastest and most convenient choice. In the beginning, we only had a few service bicycles available for employees. We have renewed and expanded this fleet over the years. At the moment, colleagues can borrow about fifty modern bikes for their service trips, including 35 e-bikes.”
Are there sufficient service bikes available for personnel?
"At the moment this number is sufficient. In 2012, 700 trips were made using the service bikes. The number has increased to 3,800 per year in 2019. 675 different staff members have already used them. Some borrow a bike daily. We have a maintenance contract whereby the bicycles are checked every month and repaired within 24 hours in case of a defect. Staff members can also use the bikes to cycle home after work and return them the next day.”
What kind of cycling infrastructure does the European Parliament provide?
"We have covered and secured bicycle parking facilities in our buildings. In 2022, we plan to equip a new floor for visitors coming by bike.”
"In 2021, we have opened a state-of-the-art bicycle parking with more than 100 staple-shaped bicycle racks, ventilated lockers, changing rooms, showers, charging stations for e-bikes, a compressor, a repair column and places for special bikes (e.g. cargo bikes). Not all buildings are equipped to this level yet, but it is our ambition to offer the same level of comfort to all cyclists and visitors who want to come by bike in the future.”
The European Parliament does not offer a cycling allowance to its staff. How do you manage to make employees cycle to work?
"Every year in May, we hold the cycling event 'Velomai' with lectures, workshops, bicycle tours and trainings. We also participate in the Velomai Cycling Challenge, a cross-institutional cycling competition organised by the European Commission. During Mobility Week, we organise a campaign to promote cycling. At the Mobility Point, an information desk for mobility in our main building, staff members can also obtain information about their mobility and sustainable transport.”
17% of the employees of the European Parliament cycle. This is a high percentage, especially for Brussels. How did you achieve this?
"The 17% figure comes from our last mobility survey. The corona pandemic has certainly had an impact on this because many employees have switched from public transport to cycling or walking. In the meantime, a cycling culture has been firmly established in the European Parliament. In North European countries cycling is common. The inspiring example of cycling colleagues has had a ripple effect and has encouraged staff members to cycle as well. Also the new bicycle facilities that were recently realised in Brussels during the pandemic have increased the comfort and safety for cyclists.”
What are your future CYCLING ambitions?
"We have an ambitious target of 19% cycling to work by 2023. To attract more cyclists, we will expand and modernise our existing bicycle parking facilities, as well as provide additional new parking spaces for bicycles.”
How does your employer obtain a 'Cycle friendly employer' certificate?
The CFE certificates are awarded in 16 European countries. In Belgium, Fietsersbond is responsible for these awards. A CFE certificate makes cycling investments visible to the outside world. With a CFE certificate, your company or organisation distinguishes itself as a sustainable employer with attention to healthy employees and mobility.
Applying for CFE certification?
Read all about it on Cycle Friendly Employer Certification - Belgium