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Federal government promotes bike commuting

On October 5, 2009, President Obama signed Executive Order (EO) 13514, Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance, which required Federal agencies to set greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets. The Office of the Federal Environmental Executive, in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force on Bicycling and Active Transportation*,  just released a new guide to help agencies meet their goals by promoting bicycle commuting. It is called “Implementing a Successful Bicycle and Active Commuting Program in the Washington, DC Metropolitan Area.” As a nice touch, it is dated May, 21, 2010 – National Bike to Work Day.

At the National Bike Summit in March, the League’s Bicycle Friendly America Team gave a presentation to government employees on bicycle-friendly workplaces. We are delighted to see that much of the information was incorporated into the guide. The guide is organized around the same “5 Es” used in the Bicycle Friendly America programs. Here is a bulleted list of the recommendations, see the full report for details.


Agencies should:

  • Promote the Bicycle Commuter Benefit
  • Create a plan to promote and support bike commuting by employees and visitors.
  • Address security issues early in the planning process
  • Participate in the Inter-Agency Task Force on Bicycling and Active Transportation.


Agencies should:

  • Propose on-street facilities to local transportation officials
  • Provide secure bike parking (long-term and short-term,) in high-visibility areas
  • Provide sufficient bike parking – e.g. one employee space for every 7,500 square feet of office floor area and one visitor space for every 20,000 square feet
  • Provide lockers and showers


Agencies should:

  • Promote commuter challenges
  • Encourage participation in Bike to Work Day and celebration of Bike to Work Month
  • Promote bike share programs (e.g. SmartBike DC)
  • Institute Emergency Ride Home (ERH) programs
  • Provide safety information


Agencies should develop outreach and education tools, like the following:

  • A Bicycle Advisory Committee
  • Bicycle/travel Map
  • Guide to Bicycling
  • Bicyclist and Motorist Safety Education Campaign
  • Safety Workshops
  • Buddy programs
  • Help Line


Agencies should consider the following ideas to measure success:

  • Designate Bike Coordinator
  • Monitor participation
  • Reduce paperwork
  • Set targets
  • Survey
  • Sustainability Plan
  • Self-Assessment

*The Inter-Agency Task Force on Bicycling and Active Transportation is, as the name suggests, a taskforce comprising different government  agencies, convened under the auspices of a GSA-funded project, lead by the League, WABA and Alta have.  Since December, the group has been working on providing input into the Executive Order.

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