An engineering services company in the UK that advises sustainable transportation projects has banned staff from cycling to work because it's too dangerous. It has told staff at its 36 offices across Britain that they must drive or use public transport. They can use bicycles only if they are working away from roads, such as on canal towpaths.
Jacobs Engineering (nee Jacobs Babtie) is one or the largest engineering services company in the UK. An email sent to their staff from the company's health and safety manager says, "It’s patently obvious that if you are struck by a wayward vehicle when you are on a bicycle or motorbike you are going to be more severely affected than if you were in a car. The reason for this policy is to protect our employees from other vehicles on the road."
The ban on cycling on company business has infuriated several staff, who have been cycling without any serious safety incidents for years. They believe the ban is partly the result of conditions in the company’s insurance policy. The e-mail acknowledges that staff are unhappy about the ban and admits it “could be construed as being at odds with our environmental policy and the requirement to be environmentally responsible”.
Jacobs Babtie highlights their "impressive track record in the rapidly developing field of sustainable transport" on their website, claiming "in the area of cycling, we can offer expert resources at every stage from cycle policy and promotion through to the detailed design and implementation of cycle schemes." Many local governments and organizations in the UK contract with Jacobs Engineering for their cycling promotion "expertise."
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This is an unbelievable story. I can't believe that any compnay would implemnet such a policy.
Every once and a while, I run across someone who thinks that riding a bike to work is extremely unsafe. Someone who I used to work with once inferred that my bike commuting is irresponsible because I have a family. Man, that kind of thinking just ticks me off. I shouldn't be surprised though. I guess it is right in line with the "drive a bigger SUV than the next guy so you aren't the one killed in an accident" mentality that seems so pervavisive in our culture. I wish that people would stop and actually think about what they say sometimes.