Active Commuting

Active commuting encourages people to get physically active on a regular basis and to reduce greenhouse emissions and traffic congestion by actively or alternatively commuting.

Active/alternative commuting includes:

  • Walking
  • Bicycle riding
  • Car pooling
  • Using mass transit transportation
  • Any other travel without driving yourself (rollerblading, skateboarding. Have fun and get creative.)

Safety Tips

  • Follow the Rules of the Road - As appropriate - obey all traffic signs, signal and watch for traffic at intersections, cross at crosswalks, do not exceed speed limit, wear seatbelt at all times, ride with traffic (bike, car), walk against traffic or use sidewalk when available, use proper lane position, etc.
  • Wear appropriate attire to be visible and safe - As appropriate - wear helmet, protective equipment (bike, rollerblade), be visible-wear bright clothing or reflective clothing, wear lights on person or bike, wear comfortable shoes, wear seatbelt (car, bus if applicable), use rain gear as appropriate-poncho, umbrella, fenders, etc.
  • Be alert and aware of surroundings - As appropriate - do not use ear buds or listen to loud radio, do not talk or text on cell phone, monitor surroundings for potential dangers - environmental lighting, uneven terrain, road conditions, etc.
  • Safety inspection of your mode of transportation - As appropriate - secure cargo, ensure proper tire inflation, ensure mechanical items in good working condition - brakes, chains, belts, lights, turn signals, etc. Shoes in good working condition (not excessively worn, protecting feet from hazards), laces secured, etc.

Active commuting tips and ideas

Anyone can actively commute. If the distance is too far for you, try driving part of the way to your destination, and actively commuting the rest of the way.

If you're not sure what would be the best route for your active commute, look on Google Maps. Go to google.com, click on the "Maps" tab at the top of the page, then click on "Get directions."

For more active commuting tips, click on the bars below:

Bike to Work Tips

Biking to work is good for you and the environment. Here are some tips to make your commute safe and easy.

  1. Plan your route
    1. It may be different from the typical driving route. Check out Google Maps for a good biking route.
    2. Be sure you are familiar with time, distance, terrain and traffic flow.
    3. Try out the route beforehand.
    4. Stay away from major roads or heavy traffic streets.
    5. Be prepared for setbacks to be sure you get to work on time.
  2. Wear the right shoes and socks
    1. Make sure your shoes are appropriate for biking.
    2. Don't wear sandals.
    3. Be sure shoe strings are tucked in.
  3. Wear the right biking clothes
    1. Don't wear clothing that is too baggy.
    2. Wear your helmet!
  4. Be Visible!
    1. Have a headlight for night riding, reflective clothing, and a horn on your bike.
  5. Carry your stuff
    1. Wear a backpack or use a carry rack with a clip-in system or bungee cords if you need to carry things with you.
    2. Carry a bike air pump for longer trips.
  6. Be prepared for bad weather
    1. Dress in layers for heat/cold.
    2. Have a backup plan in case you can't bike in bad weather.
  7. Freshen up at work
    1. Have a change of clothes, deodorant, hair brush, towel and other necessities once you get to work.
  8. Replenish your body
    1. Drink a cup of water every 20 minutes. Bring a water bottle if you need it.
    2. After you get to work, drink a glass of water.
    3. If biking longer than 30 minutes, bring a small post-bike snack with protein and carbs.
  9. Follow the Rules
    1. Ride with traffic in the same direction.
    2. Don't stop or ride in a car's blind spot; Stop or ride behind the car.
    3. Slow down at intersections so you will be able to completely stop if necessary.
    4. Signal when turning - use hand signals.
    5. Obey all traffic signs.
  10. Plan B
    1. Learn bus routes between home and work.
    2. Do you have any co-workers who would give you a ride if needed?

If you are not sure how to properly fit your helmet, this website is a great resource: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycles.

More resources

Bus To Work Tips

When taking the bus, you can sit back, relax and enjoy saving gas money. Here are some tips to make your bus ride to work easier.

  1. Plan your route
    1. Know where all the bus stops are and which specific bus to take.
    2. Use a stop that's well lit and near a store that's open.
    3. You may have to plan out a route B in case the bus you want doesn't come in time.
  2. Predict travel time
    1. Be prepared for setbacks to be sure you get to work on time.
  3. Be prepared for bad weather
    1. Bring an umbrella or a small foldable poncho.
    2. You may have to wait a bit for the bus or have to walk from a stop to your destination, always be prepared.
  4. Plan B
    1. Learn alternative bus routes between home and work.
    2. Do you have any co-workers who would give you a ride if needed?
    3. Could you possibly walk to or from work? If so, be prepared with walking shoes and clothes.

Gundersen Health System is a sponsor of the Scenic Mississippi Region Transit (SMRT) bus. To learn more, visit ridesmrt.com/.

Gundersen employees can purchase a monthly MTU bus pass for $8 (normally $35). Passes may be bought at the cashier window on the first floor. Or fill out a form that can be found on Gladiator. Choose the Gund U/HR tab then Other resources then Employee Discounts.

If you'd like to try riding the bus before you purchase a pass, check it out on the following free days:

  • First Monday of every month
  • May 4
  • June 1
  • July 6
  • August 3

To figure out how to use the MTU bus, call (608) 789-7350. They will plan your trip for you by figuring out where and when you can be picked up, what bus to get on, and where and when you will be dropped off.

The MTU busses also offer the option of bringing your bike with you. All MTU busses have space for two bicycles to be loaded on them (first come, first serve). To learn more about "Bike 'n' Ride," please visit City of La Crosse MTU information.

More resources

Car Pool to Work Tips

If you live near coworkers, take turns and car pool to work. It will save you money and you'll have someone to keep you company as you commute to work. Here are some tips to help you make the most of your car pooling:

  • Be sure you know and trust who you are car pooling with.
  • Be prepared in case someone gets sick or they don't show - can you bike, ride the bus, or walk to work?
  • Try to figure out a schedule of when you will get to work and when you will leave.

Gundersen has a ride board available on Gladiator. If you're interested in car pooling, check it out!

Walk to Work Tips

Walking to work is a great way to not only save money, but it can help you get your daily exercise. Here are some tips to help make your walk to work easier.

  1. Plan your route
    1. It may be different from the typical driving route. Check out Google Maps for a good walking route.
    2. Stay away from major roads or heavy traffic streets.
    3. Look for local parks for more green paths to work.
  2. Predict walking time
    1. Be prepared for setbacks to be sure you get to work on time.
  3. Wear the right shoes and socks
    1. Make sure your shoes are appropriate for the type of weather conditions.
  4. Wear the right walking clothes
    1. For walks more than 20 minutes, consider wearing walking clothes, and changing into work clothes when you get there.
  5. Protect your head and skin
    1. Hats and sunscreen are a good idea.
  6. Carry your stuff
    1. A backpack or messenger bag will help you carry your stuff and still be able to walk with good form.
  7. Be prepared for bad weather
    1. Dress in layers for heat/cold.
    2. Bring along an umbrella or a small foldable poncho.
  8. Freshen up at work
    1. Give yourself a little extra time when you get to work to cool off.
    2. Bring a washcloth to cool your body and change shirts when you get to work.
  9. Replenish your body
    1. Drink a cup of water every 20 minutes. Bring a water bottle along if you need it.
    2. After you get to work, drink a glass of water
    3. If walking longer than 30 minutes, bring a small post-walk snack with protein and carbs.
  10. Plan B
    1. Learn bus routes between home and work.
    2. Do you have any co-workers who would give you a ride if needed?

More resources

Other Opportunities

Gundersen Health System also offers a one-time financial incentive for employees who purchase and live in a home in the Southside neighborhood and agree to actively commute to work. La Crosse Campus Neighborhood Employee Incentive program information is available on Gladiator. Choose the Corporate Reference tab then Policies Plans & SOPs (La Crosse Campus Neighborhood Employee Incentive Program)

Community Events and Programs

There are many opportunities for you to participate in a variety of events or programs related to walking, biking and other activities as you are interested. Please click here for a link to community events and opportunities.

More resources

Download the Active Commuting Toolkit

Questions, contact Susan Lundsten at (608) 775-5442.

For more information, call Gundersen Community & Preventive Care Services at (608) 775-4717 or email wellness@gundersenhealth.org.

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