Dr Scott Wilkinson with his CSIRO cycling colleagues. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
Beleaguered CSIRO staff in Canberra are demanding no fewer than 300 bicycle storage bays at their new Black Mountain site.
Their lobbying comes as other federal government workplaces in the nation's capital pay for $490 audits to find out if their offices are bike-friendly.
The CSIRO, whose national numbers have dropped from 6500 to fewer than 6100 because of recent redundancies and a ban on temps and contractors, is set to abandon its headquarters in Campbell, near the War Memorial, and move all ACT staff to its Black Mountain campus.
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The proposal involves building a new research centre and refurbishing other areas, and its first phase should be finished when the lease on the Campbell office expires in 2016.
Consolidation of CSIRO properties will cost about $196 million, but the organisation says it is critical to the sustainability of its operating budget, too much of which is spent maintaining old, dangerous buildings.
The CSIRO Staff Association has filed a submission to the parliamentary standing commission on public works saying employees want access to bike storage bays which are "appropriately located, secure, covered and well lit".
Black Mountain-based cyclist and hydrologist Scott Wilkinson, who helped write the staff association submission, said the figure of 300 bays was based on the ratio of cyclists at other CSIRO sites.
"There will be 1500 staff [at Black Mountain] and we see a 20 per cent level of demand," Dr Wilkinson said.
He conceded management had been quoting a survey saying there would not be so many cyclists, but said counting cyclist numbers could be tricky because bikes were often hidden away in the corners of offices.
He said the facility should be ''built to aspirational standards''.
''This will encourage people to take on the wellbeing benefits [of cycling].''
Dr Wilkinson said it was important to have ''end-of-ride facilities'' such as showers and a place to hang cycling clothes to dry during the day.
The executive officer of cycling lobby group Pedal Power, John Armstrong, said asking for 300 bike storage bays was a positive move because ''this is the reason people take jobs at certain places''.
His organisation has done audits on more than 15 ACT workplaces, a number of which were federal government workplaces, to give star ratings for cycling facilities, including end-of-ride amenities.
Other criteria the offices were marked on included bike parking, access to work from the parking area, number of parking spaces, security and weather protection.
Pedal Power's document said cycling helped increase workforce productivity, decrease absenteeism and raise the health, morale and enthusiasm and lower lifestyle-related disorders.