Today at Berkeley Lab

One Day Per Week: Bicycling…a Clean, Healthy, Sustainable Commute Option

June is Commute Awareness Month at the Lab. Staff are encouraged to learn more about alternative commute modes and try options other than driving solo at least one day per week (or more if possible). Bicycling is an excellent option to explore. Staff made over 60,000 commute trips on their bicycles last year. Go here for details on safe cycling, the Bike Shuttle Express, resources, and more.

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  1. Kyle Diederichsen says:

    I am struck that though the bike shuttle is advertised on the biking page of the commute website, it does not appear whatsoever on the shuttle website. People taking the shuttle or people new to the lab that are looking at all of the shuttle routes will not see it at all. It’s been six months since it started, this should really be on the shuttle website by now.

  2. I second the suggestion to have the WageWorks Bicycle Reimbursement Program. But it’s weird that WageWorks doesn’t allow the bike program to be combined with the Transit Account. I take my bike to the BART to get to work, so I’d have to choose one or the other.

  3. Preston Jordan says:

    If you want more people to ride, you should offer the bicycle commuter benefit authorized by Congress in 2008. Wageworks has the capability to offer this benefit, as evidenced by However this option is not available in LBNL Wageworks accounts.

    As I stated in my comment on the last TABL item regarding commuting by bike, it would benefit me. However I am not belaboring this for myself, but rather to get the lab to do the right thing with regard to reducing greenhouse pollution. To back up this statement, I pledge not to use this benefit if it becomes available.

    I managed to get the previous COO to analyze offering this benefit. He came back with the finding that the overhead to offer it would cost more than the money disbursed. Consequently the lab would not implement this benefit. This was a failure to employ the life cycle analysis for which the lab is well known.

    About a decade ago, the lab built new parking spaces below Building 15 (ALS User Support). I asked the construction manager how much the project cost per space. He answered $30,000. This should be the starting point for judging the value of offering the cycling commuter benefit, not whether the overhead of offering the benefit costs more than the money disbursed (which seems hard to believe in any case given that Wageworks is set up to offer this benefit).

    At a minimal discount rate of 5%, getting just one person to switch from driving alone to riding is worth $1,500 per year. This is far more than the benefit would cost, even with high overhead. Further, this does not count the ancillary benefits of a healthier work force, and therefore lower group insurance rate. This would likely be worth far more than the value of saving a parking space. It is also likely a discount rate of 5% is too low because it does not take into account the unique opportunity cost of space at LBNL that could otherwise be used for research facilities.

  4. Ross Schaefer says:

    If you’ve never bicycled to work, give it a try. The infrastructure here to support cyclists is great- from shuttles to showers. Missing Link bike co-op on Shattuck in Berkeley is an excellent source for bags, lights, locks, great advice, and anything else you might need to make the ride safe and fun. And when you’re on the road, make it easier for motorists to give you room by making yourself very highly visible- fluorescent jerseys and bright blinky lights (even during daylight hours) will help keep you safe.

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