May 28, 2015

Cycle to work, not a tribunal

Once you can ride a bike you never forget, so don’t forget your responsibilities as an employer either!

Where you as an employer provide bikes for your employees to use, perhaps through a cycle to work scheme, you are required to comply with health and safety regulations. It doesn’t end with providing a helmet and reflective pads either! A bike is considered the same as any other piece of equipment in the workplace in terms of regulations, even if it never enters your office. For those businesses that provide bikes for their employees, we’ve put together some key facts and advice to ensure you stay compliant with regulation.

Any bike that is supplied to a member of staff must be:

  • Suitable for purpose;
  • Inspected regularly to ensure that its safe use;
  • Repaired by a competent person, when necessary;
  • Has suitable maintenance records available.

Using a bike is no different from any other piece of equipment within the workplace, and like any other equipment within the workplace, employers have a responsibility to ensure that the risks arising from the use of the equipment are assessed through completing a suitable risk assessment and any risks identified should be where possible eliminated or controlled by ensuring;

  • Suitable guards are in place;
  • Controls and warning devices for example bells, horns, brakes and lights are available to the employee/rider;
  • Suitable personal protective equipment is worn by the employee/rider, for example water proofs, helmet, and goggles as necessary;
  • Staffs have adequate and suitable training prior to using the equipment.

On the whole, the benefits of riding a bike through a busy town or city will more than likely outweigh the risks; it is crucial though those employees using bikes at work follow road safety procedures.  Usual cycling etiquette includes;

  • Not weaving in and out of traffic or changing direction suddenly without signaling;
  • Using cycle routes, advanced stop lines, cycle boxes and toucan crossings (dual cycle and pedestrian crossings) unless it’s unsafe to do so at the time. It’s not compulsory to use these, and whether you do so will depend on your experience and skills, but they can make your journey safer;
  • Giving pedestrians priority at all time, remember some may be partially sighted or deaf and therefore may not be aware of your presence;
  • Use your bell or horn to make other road users aware of your presence

Finally those employees using bikes for work must be aware of the Highway Code for cyclists and therefore bear in mind the following, which are against the law;

  • Cycling through red lights, including lights at pedestrian crossings;
  • Cycling on pavements, unless there’s a sign showing that the pavement has been converted to a cycle path;
  • Cycling the wrong way up a one-way street, unless there’s a sign showing that cyclists can do so;
  • Riding across pedestrian crossings, unless it’s a toucan crossing with a sign saying that cyclists can do so.

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About the author

Eamon Griffin