3 DC-area businesses among most bike friendly

WASHINGTON — Three D.C.-area businesses landed in the top categories of bike-friendly businesses, according to the League of American Bicyclists.

Frederick County, Maryland’s Thermo Fisher Scientific won an award in the Silver category as did Roanoke, Virginia’s Carilion Clinic.

In the Bronze category, Arlington’s Potomac Tower was recognized for its bike-friendly practices.

The league recognizes businesses for promoting cycling among their employees. The top winner was the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, which won Platinum status for its efforts. Steve Sanders, Alternative Transportation Manager at the university, said on any given day — when the weather is good — between 7,000 and 8,000 people bike to campus.

Sanders said that comes to about 13 percent of the student population and 7 percent of the staff and faculty.

The university offers discounts on its health insurance as an incentive to get employees to ride to work, Sanders said. On a family policy, a staffer can save as much as $600 a year, he added. And Sanders said tracking the trips that staffers make to campus is verifiable.

“We use radio frequency identification technology — you put a tag on a bike, and we have readers around campus — solar powered readers. So when you ride past one of these readers, it will date-stamp that you rode your bike that day,” he said.

The benefit to the university comes in the form of happier, healthier staff members, Sanders said

There’s even a bike shop on campus; if a commuter needs their bike checked out, they can ride to work, drop it off in the shop, and have it worked on while they’re on the job.

“People can drop it off in the morning, and it’ll be repaired for them by the time they go home at night!”

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