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Email sparks cycle furore

A leaked internal email to employees of consultant Jacobs this week sparked a furious debate about whether employees should cycle on work business.

The internal email sent by Jacobs senior health and safety manager Iain Graham to the firm’s UK staff said the ban had been introduced to ensure employee safety.

The email was leaked to the Times newspaper, but a copy has also been seen by NCE.

Graham’s email states: ‘It’s patently obvious that if you are struck by a wayward vehicle when you are on a bicycle or motorbike you are going to be more severely affected than if you were in a car.’ Jacobs’ competitors reacted with astonishment to the ban, saying cycling was good for staff health and the environment.

‘Bikes are great, ’ said Atkins chief executive Keith Clarke.

‘Cycling is healthy. Health and safety is not about not doing things. It’s about living life sensibly and vigorously.’ Whitbybird design director Mark Whitby said he failed to understand why Jacobs had introduced the ban. ‘We actively encourage staff to cycle between meetings, as I do. It is by far the most effective form of transport in London, ’ he said.

Whitbybird even employs a full time member of staff to repair bikes.

Mott MacDonald Group also adopts a cautious approach to cycling but was less conservative than Jacobs.

Mott MacDonald Group Safety manager Laura Hague said that while the company supported cycling in principle, the safety of staff was paramount and that each Motts project and office carried out a risk analysis to determine whether it was suitable mode of transport.

Jacobs was unavailable for comment.

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