The Bike Wise Business Battle (New Zealand)

By News Editor / Updated: 29 Aug 2014

This social marketing program got more 2,684 ‘non-cyclists’ to experience cycling. Follow up research of the 2006 programme indicated that 25% of these ‘non-cyclists’ continued to bike more regularly after the Battle. 54% have consciously elected to cycle rather than use a car.

Background & Objectives

Originally developed by the Health Sponsorship Council (HSC) in New Zealand. The HSC is a leading quasi-government agency in the field of social marketing (info at: www.hsc.org.nz). Bike Wise Business Battle was piloted in 2002 and has been run nationally since.

Implementation

How does it work? Businesses compete against each other to see who can get the most employees to ride a bike. The businesses and workplaces that get the highest percentage of employees on a bike (for their organisations size category) win the ‘Participation Award’.

A workplace cycle challenge is an ideal way to introduce more people to cycling. Instead of marketing biking through traditional methods, such as advertising, a significantly more effective form of marketing is to get people to actually experience what it is like to bike. This is a great way to quickly breakdown negative attitudes towards biking and create some new positive attitudes towards it.

When people experience what it’s actually like to cycle (as opposed to their ‘perceived’ ideas) they find themselves saying, “Hey, this isn’t so bad after all. Cycling isn’t as scary or as hard as I thought. It’s actually quite easy, and it’s fun! I could do this more in future”. This is a great first step to encouraging these people to take up cycling.

Conclusions

In 2007, 505 businesses and 10,000 people participated in this workplace cycling challenge. 26% of participants either never bike or bike only a few times a year. As these people were the target audience of the programme getting 2,684 ‘non-cyclists’ to experience what it’s like to ride a bike is an great result.

Follow up research of the 2006 programme indicated that 25% of these ‘non-cyclists’ continued to bike more regularly after the Battle. 54% have consciously elected to cycle rather than use a car.
Besides encouraging more people to take up cycling, this campaign also developed a database of over 10,000 cyclist and 'non-cyclist' participants. It is useful in that the 2,500 ‘non cyclists’ can be targeted to attend cycle skills training and the 3,000 cyclists who ride recreationally can be targeted in a campaign to encourage them to start cycling to work.
The online database lets actual behaviour change be measured with surveys at start, end and 6 months later. It puts a spotlight on biking within workplaces - The large number of employees cycling during the challenge highlighted cycling related issues in workplaces, such as secure bike parking, changing facilities and showers at work. More cycle friendly workplaces was a positive side effect.
The success achieved in New Zealand with this programme might also be easily replicated in other countries and cities.
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06 Aug 2009
29 Aug 2014