Active Commuting to Work
The week of June 1 to June 7, 2008 marks the nationwide Commuter Challenge in which Canadians are encouraged to commit to have a green commute (bus, carpool, bike or walk) to work (www.commuterchallenge.ca). In this edition of 'What's New', we would like to highlight active commuting to work (walking and cycling) and the skills, equipment and supportive environments that are necessary to achieve this. Walking and cycling to work are great alternatives to driving because employee's activity levels are increased, emissions are reduced and money is saved.
- Most people know how to walk. What they may not realize is how little time it actually takes to walk: the average person can walk a kilometer in 12 minutes.
- If your cycling skills are not developed Can-bike courses are available for cyclists of all abilities. Some of these courses focus specifically on commuting to work. See http://canadian-cycling.com/cca/education/canbike.shtml
- Walking can happen in any weather. It is all about dressing appropriately; wearing comfortable footwear, layering clothing and carrying a backpack, umbrella,and rain gear.
- Cyclists will need all of the above and also an approved helmet and pant clips and a properly sized bicycle in good working order.
Helmet: Correct helmet fit is important. A bicycle helmet should sit level on the head, two finger-widths above the eyebrows. The side straps should meet in a "V" just below the ears. The chin strap should be snug with just enough room to insert one finger. Helmets should be worn directly on the head (no ball caps underneath). For more information on helmets visit: http://www.biaww.com/index.php?page=lidz_on_kidz
Bicycle: A cyclist should be able to straddle the cross bar with both feet flat on the ground and have 2-3 centimeters between the bar and crotch. The seat should be adjusted so that the leg is almost straight when the pedal is in the downward position. Bicycles are required to have a bell or horn, front and rear reflectors and a light for riding in the dark. For more information visit: http://www.ontariocycling.org/web_pages/edu_safety.php
Providing facilities and incentives can encourage your employees to use active transportation to work. Those who use active transportation may need "wash up" facilities such as showers or a place to change their clothes when they arrive at work. They may also require storage facilities for their equipment such as shelves and bike racks that are in good condition.
If you would like more information on Active Commuting to Work, please contact Colleen Cooper, Region of Waterloo Public Health Nurse at 519-883-2000 ext. 5324.