I just read this article in one of Seattle's newspapers, and it strikes me as a very good idea:
Bikes-for-employees test at Children's Hospital
The list of companies offering employees bicycles as a cleaner, cheaper way to get to work is about to grow.
Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center said Wednesday it plans to test such a program in mid-July. In exchange for a commitment to bike to work at least two days a week, employees will get one of four different types of bicycles, including electrically assisted models "for people who need help with the hills," said Paolo Nunes-Ueno, the hospital's transportation manager.
The plan is to give away 100 bicycles this year; if that goal is reached, the program may continue next year. The hospital has promoted car-less travel before; it charges employees $50 a month for parking but pays workers that much if they give up a parking space. As of last fall more than 160 of its 2,800 workers, or about 6 percent, biked to work, Nunes-Ueno said.
The hospital now proposes the bike giveaway program will increase that share to 8 percent of its work force this year and 10 percent in 2009.
"What this allows us to do is, Number 1, take advantage of the blessing of the (nearby) Burke-Gilman Trail," Nunes-Ueno said. "Our goal as an institution is to reduce vehicle trips."
The hospital will save the cost of new parking spaces, at perhaps $40,000 apiece, and th program could help reduce the traffic impacts of a planned expansion that would double the number of hospital beds and dramatically increase traffic delays at nearby street intersections.
Nunes-Ueno said the hospital thinks the program will save the hospital $60,000 to $80,000 during this year's biking season. Hospital and Cascade Bicycle Club officials will ride some of the hospital's new fleet on the fourth annual Vulcan Bike-to-Work Breakfast at the Seattle Sheraton Hotel next Wednesday.
This is at least the second such program announced in the Seattle area. The law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, LLP., recently promised to provide bicycles to employees who commit to riding them to work at least three months each year.
As of mid-March, 35 of the law firm's employees had signed up.
Chris Cameron, director of bicycle commuting for the Cascade Bicycle Club, said the bike-giveaways are another sign that bicycles increasingly are accepted as a commuting choice in an era of rising gas prices and health conciousness.
"It is quickly going to be a viable piece of transportion instead of this little freak side show," Cameron said of bicycles. "We're taking the main stage, along with the other (options)."
Posted by Larry Lange at April 30, 2008 6:09 p.m.