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Julie Cook Kitchener May 13, 2024 12:41 pm
Hi all,
 
The social marketing discipline has long held this truism that sustainable behaviours should be fun, easy, and popular. Switzerland’s bike to work campaign is all of those, and because of that, the country seems to have no problems persuading its citizens to abandon their cars and bike to work every May and June. Participants sign up in groups of four with their work colleagues. One person oversees registration, and participation is free, as it is the work companies that pay for the registration. Kilometres biked and routes covered can be easily logged on their app, and there are many individual and team prizes to be won. Non-cyclists are included in the sense that one member of each team is allowed to bike to work by an alternative, non-motorized method such as skateboard, roller skates, or on foot. 
 
Healthy competition between companies and internally between teams in one company keeps people motivated, as does the many benefits inherent when biking to work (e.g. physical health, mental health, and environmental benefits). The website prominently displays these benefits, as well as a list of participating companies and their total CO2 diverted. Commitments are therefore visible and public.    
 
Did I mention that there are prizes to be won? I’m not talking about water bottles and bike lights, though there are those. I’m talking about really, really, nice prizes. They have expensive bikes, zip lining adventures, canyoning tours, train trip getaways, and my personal favourite, a luxurious two-night stay at Hotel Alpenland in the Swiss Alps. Where’s my helmet? I will bike to work for that!
 
One of many prizes for cycling to work


The results? This campaign involves nearly 90,000 people and saves around 2000 tons of CO2 emissions each year. 
 
All of this seems relatively easy to replicate in any nation or region, so what truly sets Switzerland apart is their overarching commitment to cycling. In 2018, nearly three quarters of Swiss citizens voted to enshrine the promotion of cycling in the constitution. It is increasingly understood as a social norm, to which this campaign undoubtedly contributes. 
 
To find out more about Switzerland’s bike to work campaign, click here