The Carrboro Bicycle Coalition launched its annual selection of bike-friendly businesses in Chapel Hill and Carrboro. Applications are due May 1.
Since starting in 2013, the program has recognized 17 businesses as being bike friendly, said Eric Allman, the chairman of the Carrboro Bicycle Coalition.
“If we get businesses more friendly for the bikes, not only for people who are there to buy their products or eat there, but also for the people who work there, people would be more likely to use their bikes to get to a work or to get to businesses,” Allman said.
The League of American Bicyclists has a similar program, but Allman said he wanted to create a program to fit the local community.
“It’s hard to make businesses kind of understand the benefits at a large scale when this is a very tight community, so we want to make things local,” he said.
To apply, businesses fill out a 10-question survey that gathers information on how many employees ride bikes to work, whether the businesses offer bike racks and whether they offer discounts to customers who ride bikes, among other questions.
Allman said the coalition has helped businesses become more bike friendly by giving out bike racks, meeting with managers in person and giving recommendations on things they can do better.
The PTA Thrift Shop in Carrboro is one of the businesses that was recognized in 2013. Barbara Jessie-Black, the executive director of the thrift shop, said the store has a bike lane running through the property, some of its employees bike to work and it sells bikes.
Jessie-Black said the program makes the community healthier.
“People are out biking. People interact more,” she said.
She said bike racks give Carrboro residents an alternative way to get around.
“If we are biking around town, it makes it easier for people who are coming from further to come in and find a place to park,” she said.
To the Woods, a Carrboro hair salon, was also recognized as a bike-friendly business in 2014.
“Generally, I would say half of the clients are the ones at UNC, so they ride bikes here,” said Anastasia Harvell, a receptionist at the salon. “There’s usually at least one on the rack at a time.”
Carrboro Alderman Sammy Slade said a bike-friendly program is a great idea for promoting bike riding.
“Some places have had really bad bike racks,” Slade said. “Improving these racks really shows that they are aware and support those customers and that mode of transportation.”