The League of American Bicyclists has awarded the city of Davis the designation of silver as a bicycle-friendly business.
However, the accomplishment is not to be confused with Davis’ status as a bicycle-friendly community, which remains emblazoned in platinum.
Regardless, along with 71 other businesses across the country last week that also were named some shade of bicycle-friendly — from platinum to bronze — the city of Davis was specifically honored for making City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd., a welcome place for all employees who want to bike to work.
“It’s a great way to recognize what the city has done for the employees,” said Dave “DK” Kemp, the city’s new active transportation coordinator, who applied for the award on the city’s behalf. “But (it) also shows a lot more that we can do to support employees to bike to work.”
According to Kemp, about 25 percent of all City Hall personnel ride their bikes to work every day.
To encourage bicycling among its employees, the city offers myriad amenities to make it as convenient as possible to bike to work.
For one, after one year of employment, all employees become eligible for a $1,000 loan to invest in a new, high-quality bike.
City Hall also features ample bike parking on all sides of the building and bike lockers to store bikes indoors as well.
“We’re also beginning right now to beef up the education that we offer within the city,” Kemp said last week. “Beginning next year we’ll be offering a series of bicycle education classes to employees at lunchtime and outfitting those who need bike lights with a front bike light.”
Kemp also mentioned a bike helmet program that he’d like to introduce where employees, in addition to Davis residents, could obtain helmets for little or no cost.
With the latest round of awards, the total number of bicycle-friendly businesses recognized by the League grew to almost 500 across 42 states.
Other notable award winners this round included Facebook (gold), Apple Inc. (silver), Burton Snowboards (silver), Hewlett-Packard Co. (silver), Amway (bronze), Angie’s List (bronze), General Mills (bronze) and Williams-Sonoma Inc. (bronze).
“Businesses are the engine of our economy, but more and more companies are realizing the bicycle can be a powerful catalyst for increased profits, reduced health care costs, happier employees and more customers,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League, in a statement.
“We’re excited to see the most innovative minds in technology, retail and manufacturing voting for a more bicycle-friendly America and making significant contributions to our economic growth by promoting healthy, sustainable transportation.”
Kemp hopes the designation also will continue driving the momentum he got rolling when he unveiled his Beyond Platinum bicycle action plan back in August.
The action plan is geared toward enhancing all bicycling aspects of the community over the next five years and, at the end of that half-decade, having Davis host a Bicycle World’s Fair and Exposition.
But beyond Beyond Platinum, Kemp would like to see the silver business award serve to encourage other businesses in the community to apply as bicycle-friendly businesses.
“We’ll make this a program for all businesses. If they want to get a kick-start looking for a little guidance, I’d be happy to provide that to them, meet with them and help them through the application,” Kemp said.
Looking inward, Kemp sees that the city can still improve as well.
To take that next step as a bicycle-friendly business, Kemp said the city needs to increase the number of bicycle commuters, implement incentive and encouragement programs, award prizes and offer covered bike parking.
With employees like Katherine Hess and Eric Lee, both from the city’s Planning Department, the city appears to be headed in the right direction.
Each said Wednesday that they bike to work every day and try to encourage their co-workers every once in a while to do the same, at least if they’re showing an interest in it.
“I don’t want to be a nag,” Lee said. “But one of our clerical workers was thinking about it and I just gave her some support.”
Kemp hopes to reapply in two years after making “internal improvements” at City Hall, when he believes the city will go for the gold.
— Reach Tom Sakash at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8057. Follow him on Twitter at @TomSakash