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Grrr. Vent vent. Employers that are unhelpful/confused about bike commuting?

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Grrr. Vent vent. Employers that are unhelpful/confused about bike commuting?

Old 10-07-18, 03:11 AM
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ripkin
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Grrr. Vent vent. Employers that are unhelpful/confused about bike commuting?

Ok.
So I finally decided to get a bit healthier, roll some exercise into my daily routine, and bike commute to work. I work for a government hospital system (that shall remain nameless) where 700 different people need to be consulted before you are allowed to make one change that might benefit the patients; then there needs to be a committee to discuss it for about 6 months, and then the something changes for the better, but it comes with more paperwork that sucks the fun/usefulness out of the original idea anyway.

Just trying to set the stage here.

So I emailed some people I thought might care if I was going to bike commute to this place—like, say, the directors of operations, safety/campus police, and maintenance. No one cared where I parked the bike outside my building. So I told them hey, I’ll pick a place, and I’ll probably just leave my lock there so I don’t have to lug it 22 miles round trip every day. Apparently this is a legit thing to do, I found out, after some googling. No one seemed to care at the time. So I found a nice pole 10-12 feet from the service entrance, not in anyone’s way, under an overhang out of the elements, and started parking there. Also, there’s a safety camera there so I thought, “Hey, this is perfect, no one would steal my stuff here.”

Anyway, long story short, someone from the maintenance department apparently didn’t like the look of my kryptonite encircling the base of the pole, because when I rolled up to my pole (after a day off) on my ridiculous fatbike (the only bike I had to commute on at the time), the thing had been cut off!

Of course, no one has *any idea* how this happened and who could be responsible...

Like it didn’t probably take 15 minutes of sawing through the thing with a grinder or hacksaw or anything.

So the reason I’m venting here is because I didn’t really get too peeved about it at work (it would probably be unprofessional to completely lose it over a $90 lock), but I did express a lot of concern that no one had tried to ask whose lock it was, etc, and bother to find out that I had actually tried to be above-board about the whole thing.

Would this fall under the category of “employer needs education about bike culture”? Or is it kind of a hostile move (i.e., should I be paranoid that someone at the maintenance dept has it out for me, and my kryptonite??)... Or was I in the wrong for trying to leave the lock there in the first place? Help me out, bike people...!
.

Just curious: does anyone else have stories about employers that are unhelpful in the pursuit of better mental and physical health through bike commuting? Anyone also, weirdly, work at a hospital whose mission statement includes the pursuit of better mental and physical health?


Last edited by ripkin; 10-07-18 at 03:13 AM. Reason: typo
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Old 10-07-18, 07:13 AM
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I also leave my lock at work, but I'm not the only one. I have considered multiple times labeling it with name, phone number and what the purpose is. I don't think it is very intuitive to people who have never considered bike commuting why one would leave a lock somewhere. They might just have thought it was abandoned and cleaned it up.
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Old 10-07-18, 07:24 AM
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Just an idea: Maybe next time add a little engraved plate “Don’t worry, this chain loves poles. Bike lock in use.” Add your phone number on the back, or a police bike registration code or something like that.

I know I’d simply keep continuing my pursuit of better mental and physical health :-)

Last edited by Bikewolf; 10-07-18 at 07:28 AM.
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Old 10-07-18, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by alias5000 View Post
I also leave my lock at work, but I'm not the only one. I have considered multiple times labeling it with name, phone number and what the purpose is. I don't think it is very intuitive to people who have never considered bike commuting why one would leave a lock somewhere. They might just have thought it was abandoned and cleaned it up.
Yeah, a bit simular to seeing cheap bikes locked to a pole (bus-bike commuters).
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Old 10-07-18, 07:39 AM
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I've been lucky. I bring my bike with me into my work area and don't have to lock it, no need to explain anything to anybody.
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Old 10-07-18, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Bikewolf View Post
Just an idea: Maybe next time add a little engraved plate “Don’t worry, this chain loves poles. Bike lock in use.” Add your phone number on the back, or a police bike registration code or something like that.

I know I’d simply keep continuing my pursuit of better mental and physical health :-)
That’s a good idea!
Thanks for the tip. I should have done that, I think.

After I called around to let them know about it (the campus police, maintenance, etc) people did seem genuinely sorry/apologetic and wanting to help, although since no one “admitted” to it I doubt they will officially reimburse me. I suppose I could file an actual stolen item report, but I’d just as soon replace the lock and just move on rather than being difficult about it.

Although, the one I bought to replace it is the next step up in theft protection — the NY Noose.
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Old 10-07-18, 09:51 AM
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Find a place to stow the lock near the pole, but completely out of sight. This will prevent any complaints from surfacing and resulting in it getting cut off and discarded.
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Old 10-07-18, 10:56 AM
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the people you emailed originally probably were higher up and some lower level employee thought this is an abandoned lock. Sounds like many people work there, they can't investigate every item they need to remove.

As others have suggested, attach some weatherproof label with your name and phone#, email etc. so they could contact you if they want you to use a different location etc. that way they also see you work there and it isn't a hobo bike part.

A non-rider wouldn't know why one would leave a lock.

One of the office buildings I worked at has bike racks. Every once a while those get removed for events. Before that happens, maintenance sends emails and puts signs on to remove all bikes. Maybe your maintenance would be willing to put tags on seemingly abandoned bikes etc. and don't remove before a 72 hour grace period or similar.
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Old 10-07-18, 12:46 PM
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I don't understand why commuters don't carry locks with them or use an actual commuting bike with a ring lock.

If you just leave a lock at work, you can't stop anywhere to/from work without a lock (groceries/pints, etc...)

Some of my colleagues do this and I fail to understand it.

Also 90 USD is quite a bit of money!
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Old 10-07-18, 02:17 PM
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If you leave your bike unattended for a long time during the day - everyday and at the same spot, you might end up thinking about the compromise of bike value / likelihood of having it stolen. Should you end up in the 'I want a very good bike'=expensive corner, you will also end up in the 'I should get a good lock for that' corner. Which most likely means, the lock is going to be heavy. My U-Lock is 1.9kg, not something I want to carry all the time. Hence, I leave that stationary and I have a lighter cheapo U-Lock that comes with my bike for everywhere else. I even have a nice mount for that mobile lock.
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Old 10-07-18, 03:08 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I don't understand why commuters don't carry locks with them or use an actual commuting bike with a ring lock.

If you just leave a lock at work, you can't stop anywhere to/from work without a lock (groceries/pints, etc...)

Some of my colleagues do this and I fail to understand it.

Also 90 USD is quite a bit of money!
At work you leave the bike unattended for 9-10 hours. in addition the thieve can predict you won't be back for many hours. At the grocery store only for some minutes and the bike owner could come back at any time. Big difference in what lock required for either scenario.

A lock to make me feel comfortable to leave at work (maybe sometimes overnight like if it rains and one takes the bus home) will be very heavy and expensive. Not one to carry around all the time.
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Old 10-07-18, 03:22 PM
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Communication is bound to fail, no matter who the employer is or how large the organization. Just because some maintenance person cut the lock off it doesn't mean that your employer (i.e. management) is complicit. There are all sorts of employees who make decisions to do (or not do) something that never goes through even the lowest level management.

Personally, I would not have left the lock on the pole, but I do understand that some do this because they feel the weight slows them down. My experience is that weight had very little to do with my commute times. And sometimes I carried up to 30 pounds above bike weight (typically on fridays when I brought dirty laundry home)
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Old 10-07-18, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
I don't understand why commuters don't carry locks with them or use an actual commuting bike with a ring lock.
Because a lot of cyclists think that the extra weigh of a lock would slow them down too much.
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Old 10-07-18, 04:26 PM
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This is a HOSPITAL? How big?

Perhaps it would be worth talking to the facilities manager about installing some proper bike racks for patients and a bike cage for employees. Preferably in a covered parking area, or with a roof covering.

Try to convince them that promoting health includes promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Or, our local hospital has installed a dozen mini-cages in the underground parking structure available for use to anybody. They don't like people locking the cage without a bike, but some of the cages have a couple of locks hanging on the gates. The main employee cages have controlled access.
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Old 10-07-18, 06:43 PM
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Hospitals don’t profit from people living healthy lifestyles. Just sayin’.
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Old 10-08-18, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Hospitals don’t profit from people living healthy lifestyles. Just sayin’.
Good one

and true....
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Old 10-08-18, 09:01 AM
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Originally Posted by ripkin View Post
So I found a nice pole 10-12 feet from the service entrance, not in anyone’s way, under an overhang out of the elements, and started parking there. Also, there’s a safety camera there so I thought, “Hey, this is perfect, no one would steal my stuff here.”
This is probably where you ended up with a problem. If you had left it on a bike rack they might have left it alone but on a pole they thought someone was just screwing around, or some management didn't like how it looked and it wasn't "supposed" to be there. Not that this justifies it just my thoughts on how it ended up happening.
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Old 10-08-18, 09:09 AM
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So you left a lock by itself on a random pole and are shocked when it disappeared?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for asking for forgiveness later than permission first. So I feel your philosophy of "just do it and see if anyone complains" but in this case that backfired. So going forward you need a new tactic.

Not saying I'd go to the chief of medicine and get a notarized statement allowing you to leave your lock there. But I'd probably go to the maintenance department and tell them you're doing it and ask them not to mess with it next time. Maybe bring some donuts.

However, I'd also add that you clearly have a lot of animosity toward your employer for reasons unrelated to biking. Maybe that's not the right job for you. Why be miserable all day fighting the system you hate? Maybe look for a place that shares your philosophy of patient care. There ARE better hospitals out there who put patients first. No idea what's available in your area, but not all hospitals suck. Why waste your life in a place that doesn't appreciate your level of care for patients?
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Old 10-08-18, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
So you left a lock by itself on a random pole and are shocked when it disappeared?

Don't get me wrong, I'm all for asking for forgiveness later than permission first. So I feel your philosophy of "just do it and see if anyone complains" but in this case that backfired. So going forward you need a new tactic.

Not saying I'd go to the chief of medicine and get a notarized statement allowing you to leave your lock there. But I'd probably go to the maintenance department and tell them you're doing it and ask them not to mess with it next time. Maybe bring some donuts.

However, I'd also add that you clearly have a lot of animosity toward your employer for reasons unrelated to biking. Maybe that's not the right job for you. Why be miserable all day fighting the system you hate? Maybe look for a place that shares your philosophy of patient care. There ARE better hospitals out there who put patients first. No idea what's available in your area, but not all hospitals suck. Why waste your life in a place that doesn't appreciate your level of care for patients?
in the OP he describes that he emailed some people inc. maintenance. He can't possibly talk to every single maintenance person. This seems to be a huge hospital with 24/7 operation.. they may have hundreds of mechanics, landskeepers etc. on staff. Maybe I missed it, but he didn't mention there were biek racks available, at least not near that entrance he works at. a hospital can be a huge campus and having bike racks on one end may not be useful if he works half a mile away.
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Old 10-08-18, 10:50 AM
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Sounds like a breakdown in communication at the facility. But then, facilities of the size and type you describe are usually a communication nightmare so, good luck with that.

I’d probably spend some time getting friendly with the buildings and maintenance guys. Just remember you’ll get further with a kind word than vitriol over your lost lock. A tag on any new lock sounds like solid advice too. Include your name, dept, phone number, etc.

There’s always the chance that while you may have received the blessings of the administrative suits, they may not have been expecting you to drop your lock in that particular location. Something like “well I didn’t think he meant RIGHT THERE! We don’t want any locks or bikes in that area!”

And clearly, Skipjacks doesn’t work in healthcare. “Patients first?” What color is the sky on the planet he lives on? Skip, you gotta know, in the US healthcare is a business, and in business it’s ALWAYS about money. Always. Keep that in mind because the lives of people you love depend on it.


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Last edited by Kedosto; 10-08-18 at 10:58 AM.
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Old 10-08-18, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Hospitals don’t profit from people living healthy lifestyles. Just sayin’.
No kidding, but they do like greenwashing and having someone bike to work could be a great way to do that. I bet if you started at the top and worked your way down about how you were wanting to continue improving your health by bike commuting (and include wellness in the request - hospitals may be the last place for that but it's a great buzzword for them) but parking has become a problem you'd stand a better chance of success.
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Old 10-08-18, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Because a lot of cyclists think that the extra weigh of a lock would slow them down too much.
it's a commute right?
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Old 10-08-18, 11:23 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Hospitals don’t profit from people living healthy lifestyles. Just sayin’.
Most hospitals, around the planet, don't profit or even aim to profit. Just sayin'.
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Old 10-08-18, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post

And clearly, Skipjacks doesn’t work in healthcare. “Patients first?” What color is the sky on the planet he lives on? Skip, you gotta know, in the US healthcare is a business, and in business it’s ALWAYS about money. Always. Keep that in mind because the lives of people you love depend on it.

-Kedosto

I work in the financial side of healthcare in the US in insurance. (So basically the exact part you are suggesting is broken)

I assist with claims related to healthcare expense every single day. Basically I act as a translator between doctors speaking medical jargon and insurance companies speaking money. I get involved when the goals of these two groups conflict.

And while the system is profit centered, individual providers and hospitals can be VERY patient focused. Many doctors and hospitals will routinely go out of their way to assist me in getting care approved for patients because it is what is best for the patient's treatment. Often the treatment requested that's being denied is less profitable than alternative treatments the insurance carrier would approve. (I said less profitable, not less expensive. The insurance carrier usually wants the cheaper treatment, which OFTEN has a higher profit margin for the hospital than the newer more expensive procedure that the doctor is fighting for)

I see doctors and hospitals fighting for better patient care every single day.

I also see crappy hospitals and profit focused doctors who could give a crap about patient care.

But the entire medical system is not terrible. There are A LOT of good medical providers out there who really do care about patients.

And it's easy to tell which hospitals are patient focused and which are profit driven. (We provide insurance to many hospitals as well as to other businesses. So I deal with hospital staff both as the patients and as the care providers.) In the profit driven hospitals the hospital staff from the doctors and nurses to the janitors and gift shop works are miserable. They hate their jobs and just sound irritated about everything and assume that insurance issues are some evil plot to screw them. In the care focused hospitals everyone just seems happier and less worried about issues that come up.

Both kinds of care do exist.

I'm not saying the care focused hospitals are going broke. They are still employers who have to pay their staff. They aren't hurting for funding. But they do provide better care than profit focused hospitals.

One of my clients is considered one of the best hospitals in the world. By best I mean most expensive. I wouldn't go in there with questions on how to treat a headache, largely because I know they'd want 6 MRI's and recommend brain surgery where most doctors will tell me to take a tylonol and quit whining.

Another is an obscure hospital right in this area that even local people don't know is there. It's financially solvent. But it's not glitzy and glamorous. And its' the only place I'd go for treatment for just about anything. It's a wonderful care focused facility.

Last edited by Skipjacks; 10-08-18 at 11:49 AM.
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Old 10-08-18, 11:39 AM
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Originally Posted by Skipjacks View Post
I work in the financial side of healthcare in the US in insurance.

I assist with claims related to healthcare expense every single day. Basically I act as a translator between doctors speaking medical jargon and insurance companies speaking money. I get involved when the goals of these two groups conflict.

And while the system is profit centered, individual providers and hospitals can be VERY patient focused. Many doctors and hospitals will routinely go out of their way to assist me in getting care approved for patients because it is what is best for the patient's treatment. Often the treatment requested that's being denied is less profitable than alternative treatments the insurance carrier would approve. (I said less profitable, not less expensive. The insurance carrier usually wants the cheaper treatment, which OFTEN has a higher profit margin for the hospital than the newer more expensive procedure that the doctor is fighting for)

I see doctors and hospitals fighting for better patient care every single day.

I also see crappy hospitals and profit focused doctors who could give a crap about patient care.

But the entire medical system is not terrible. There are A LOT of good medical providers out there who really do care about patients.

And it's easy to tell which hospitals are patient focused and which are profit driven. (We provide insurance to many hospitals as well as to other businesses. So I deal with hospital staff both as the patients and as the care providers.) In the profit driven hospitals the hospital staff from the doctors and nurses to the janitors and gift shop works are miserable. They hate their jobs and just sound irritated about everything and assume that insurance issues are some evil plot to screw them. In the care focused hospitals everyone just seems happier and less worried about issues that come up.

Both kinds of care do exist.

I'm not saying the care focused hospitals are going broke. They are still employers who have to pay their staff. They aren't hurting for funding. But they do provide better care than profit focused hospitals.

One of my clients is considered one of the best hospitals in the world. By best I mean most expensive. I wouldn't go in there with questions on how to treat a headache, largely because I know they'd want 6 MRI's and recommend brain surgery where most doctors will tell me to take a tylonol and quit whining.

Another is an obscure hospital right in this area that even local people don't know is there. It's financially solvent. But it's not glitzy and glamorous. And its' the only place I'd go for treatment for just about anything. It's a wonderful care focused facility.
This response is exactly why I like universal coverage funded through a socialistic system.

As a side effect, it also reduces effort expenditure on most of the non-value-producing/non-innovating industries such as medical insurance.
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