Judging from many of the comments floating around the internet, bicycling blogs and on Reddit, Melbourne does not have the most bicycling-friendly reputation. But cycling to work is catching on, in part because the state of Victoria requires new buildings to have bicycle racks and showering facilities. Plus the weather is mild most of the year. One bank accepting bicycling whole heartedly is ANZ (Australia and New Zealand Banking Group). The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) has already named ANZ as the most sustainable bank in the world on a regular basis: naming it the globe’s most cycling-friendly bank would hardly be a stretch.
That downtown Melbourne building ANZ shares with other tenants boasts about 1,500 bicycle racks, 500 lockers and 100 showers with a free towel service. But other ANZ offices are also equipped for the cycling commuter. On the other end of Melbourne’s central business district, in the Docklands, the ANZ Center holds its own with perks for cyclist. The single-tenant facility has 560 bicycle racks and almost 1,000 lockers adjacent to the showering and changing rooms, allowing those bankers to forgo their cars and two-wheel it to the office or at least complete their trips part way with public transportation. For ANZ and other firms in the Melbourne area, it is about more than “being green” and addressing the city’s problems with traffic congestion: commercial space landlords realize their tenants are increasingly demanding such facilities and in turn more companies view such perks as a way to attract and retain talent.
One of ANZ’s largest competitors, National Australia Bank (NAB), is not far behind. Its main offices in Melbourne’s Docklands offers 1,000 lockers and 600 bike racks for the 6,000 employees who work here—and the racks are displayed prominently and seen easily from street level, not tucked from view and buried in an underground garage. A smaller office a few blocks away also encourages cycling with its 30 showers, 300 bike racks and 400 lockers. While Melbourne’s summer temperatures are still comfortable in the summer (25°C, or 77-78°F), few of us want to jump from cycling gear to suits—and no one wants to queue during the morning rush to take a shower.
Cycling in Melbourne is hardly a dominant form of transport as it is in European cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam, but this city of 4.1 million is on its way. The city operates a bicycle sharing program with 50 stations scattered around the city. In addition, Melbourne’s current bicycling plan, which the city aims to implement fully by 2016, seeks to connect the city’s cycling infrastructure even more with about 50 small- and large-scale projects. At last count about 11 percent of all commutes were done via cycling, but by 2016 the city is shooting for increase that ratio by half. With banks such as ANZ buying in, there is no reason why Melbourne would fall short of that goal.