Employee Bike Access Bill
New Legislation to Expand Bicycle Storage in the Workplace
In March, San Francisco officially became the city with the strongest bicycle access law in the country. We're proud to have worked with Supervisor John Avalos and the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) to introduce this groundbreaking legislation that requires the owners of commercial buildings to either provide secure bicycle parking in their buildings or to allow the tenants to bring their bicycles into the building.
More San Franciscans than ever before are biking to work. Bicycling has increased by 71% in the past five years alone. However, nearly a quarter of frequent riders report that lack of secure bike parking is still a major barrier to them riding more often.
Providing secure bike parking is one of the easiest, cheapest ways for an employer to encourage more bicycle commuting. Bicycle commuters arrive at work more energized and are more productive during my workday. They get physical activity, which keeps them healthier, lowering health care and insurance costs over time. Some research even indicates that bike commuters have lower stress and greater feelings of freedom, relaxation, and excitement than car commuters.
While many employers would gladly allow their employees to bring their bikes into their offices, a major barrier has been access to elevators in commercial buildings. The Bike Access legislation lowers this barrier and allows more employers to provide bike parking for their employees, helping the city reach its goal of 20 percent of all trips by bike by 2020.
While many buildings have a secure room with a keypad and bike racks, other building owners go the more affordable route, allowing employees to bring their bike inside their office. In order to keep costs low for building owners, this legislation doesn’t require they build a dedicated space for bikes. For many people, a bicycle in their cubicle or a closet in their office is sufficient.
How the Employee Bike Access Bill Works
Click for a full-screen version of this image.
The program is being administered by the SF Department of the Environment. They are still finalizing some of the details around how to file the Bicycle Access Plans and exemption requests. In the interim, if you are a building owner or a tenant who has questions about the legislation; would like to file for an exemption; or file a complaint for a non-compliant building, please contact the SF Department of Environment's CommuteSmart Program Hotline by calling 415-355-3727 or emailing CommuteSmart@sfgov.org. Please also e-mail us at email@example.com so that we can help ensure that this program works smoothly.
Employees and Individuals
Individuals or employees who wish to bring bicycles into their workplace should ask their employers to request bicycle access from the building owner. (Download and customize a sample letter (DOC).)
Employers (Tenants) who request bicycle access are responsible for providing appropriate areas within their leased space to store bicycles.
The building you work in is subject to the provisions of the legislation if:
If you work in a small office you can probably approach your employer directly. If you work in a larger office, your staff in your Human Resources, Facilities, Administration or Environmental Affairs departments may be helpful for making a request. You might also wish to reach out to your coworkers who also ride bikes and be able to present your request as a group.Indoor bicycle parking is becoming increasingly common at San Francisco businesses. Many businesses understand that this is a simple, low cost way to accommodate their employees’ desire to lead active, healthy lifestyles. If your Facilities managers need encouragement or guidance, you can share these photos of existing indoor bike parking at San Francisco businesses to demonstrate the variety of ways other businesses have accommodated bikes in the workplace. If you need more talking points, Bikes Belong has a great list of factoids on the health and economic benefits of bicycle commuting. And if you have any questions about what is or is not required, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tenants and Employers
You have always been able to ask your building owner/manager to allow your employees to bring their bicycles into your office space. But, this new legislation means that the building owner/manager must now allow you to do this unless they request an exemption from the Department of the Environment.
You will be responsible for providing a space or spaces in your office to store bicycles; this space must comply with basic building and fire codes and must not impede ingress or egress to the building.
If your building owner does not grant bicycle access, they must provide a sufficient amount of alternate covered off-street parking or alternate indoor bicycle parking that meets the security requirements of Planning Code Section 155.1(a)(6) and (7). This alternate parking must be available on the premises or within three blocks or 750 feet (whichever is less). And it must be plentiful enough to meet the needs of your employees (plus other the employees of other building tenants who are requesting access).
If your building owner fails to grant access without providing alternate parking as explained above, or if you have any questions on compliance please contact the SF Department of Environment's CommuteSmart Program Hotline by calling 415-355-3727 or emailing CommuteSmart@sfgov.org.
Curious about how other businesses are accommodating bikes in their offices? See our photos of existing indoor bike parking at San Francisco businesses.
Property Owners and Managers
Note: If you have not received a request from a Tenant or Subtenant, you are not required to create a Bicycle Access Plan or request an exemption. If you choose to allow employees with bicycles to enter the building and use elevators without restriction, you are not required to create a Bicycle Access Plan.
Creating a Bicycle Access Plan
The Plan must include:
This law and the Bicycle Access Plan does not require you to dedicate space for bicycle parking – only that you allow tenants to bring bicycles into their own rented space. If you apply for an exception you may need to provide alternate bicycle parking spaces (see below for details).
Building owners or managers must send a notice to tenants letting them know that the plan is available upon request. If the building has received an exemption this must be posted instead.
The posting should either a) notify the requesting tenants and subtenants of their right to bicycle access in accordance with the Plan or b) include the basis or bases for the exception and, if applicable, the route to alternate off-street or indoor parking.
Making an Exception Request
To request an exemption please contact the SF Department of Environment's CommuteSmart Program Hotline by calling 415-355-3727 or emailing CommuteSmart@sfgov.org for recourse.
If the building applies for an exemption but is denied by the Department of Environment, you have twenty days to create and post a Bicycle Access Plan, starting from the receipt of such determination.For additional questions please see this factsheet (PDF) created jointly by BOMA and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.