Company bike fleet?
October 10, 2009 7:04 AM   Subscribe

My organization is interested in providing a small fleet of bicycles for employees to use for meetings, workday errands, etc. The only reason *not* to do this that comes to mind is liability—although we could provide waivers, right? One way or the other, I haven't yet found examples of other companies doing this. What do you know about it?
posted by greggish to Travel & Transportation (15 answers total)
Not sure if this is much help, but my daughter's college does exactly this. The bikes can be used on or off campus.

Students sign a card when taking the bike, and can keep it for 2 days. All they have to do is check back in and re-sign for more days if needed. I'm sure the sign-out card includes a waiver.

Employees who wish to participate in your program could just sign a one-time agreement and waiver.
posted by The Deej at 7:34 AM on October 10, 2009

Something to keep in mind with waivers vs. release forms: sometimes waivers aren't completely airtight, or legally binding at all; the general purpose is to have people think twice about doing something stupid. Get some advice on the legalities.

Check with a rental place nearby? A small business near me keeps a bike for their employees to use. Cool idea, hope you can work it out.
posted by variella at 7:36 AM on October 10, 2009

Movie studio lots (Paramount and Warner Bros. in my experience) have bikes hanging around the offices for people to take on errands, to lunch, etc. I often grabbed one when I needed to see someone in a hurry. Can't recall signing anything, however. You may check with their legal departments.
posted by Kloryne at 7:58 AM on October 10, 2009

Do y'all have a lawyer who can draft a release for you? It's really no different than signing out a fleet vehicle.
posted by radioamy at 8:13 AM on October 10, 2009

I visited the Boeing factory in Everett, WA about 10 years ago. It was inside an absolutely enormous hangar, or more likely, a series of hangars. It was neat to see aircraft being constructed and there were bicycles all over and anytime someone needed to get someplace, they'd just grab the nearest bike, ride it to wherever and then lean it up against something for someone else.
posted by Kangaroo at 8:14 AM on October 10, 2009

Google does this at their Mountain View office on a fairly large scale. Electric scooters too.
posted by zachlipton at 8:22 AM on October 10, 2009

Helmets? How do you deal with that, does each person who wants to use the bikes have to buy oe?
posted by tristeza at 8:34 AM on October 10, 2009

We do this with our youth summer employment program, only we actually buy each of the kids a bike. Our insurance company is fine with it, although we do have them complete a local bike safety training course first. As long as they have all completed the course, the insurance company just covers them under our normal policy (think of it as a 'driver's license' of sorts), although I think they might cover them anyway. No waivers necessary.

And they do ride their bikes during the course of their work, pretty much all over the city. (They also pull cargo trailers sometimes).

Talk to your insurance company - it might already fit under your coverage.
posted by scrute at 8:49 AM on October 10, 2009

Humana does this at their headquarters in Louisville. The program is called Freewheelin' and I believe they have expanded the program to include more cities.

Good luck! I think this is a great idea.
posted by mmmbacon at 9:08 AM on October 10, 2009

My company is just starting to do this. They have always had a large fleet of cars/trucks and now they're adding bikes to the fleet - I don't know how the liability and stuff like that works, but I do know that as an employee before you're allowed to check out a bike the first time, you have to watch a bike safety video, so that may cover some of the liability concerns.
posted by pdb at 9:41 AM on October 10, 2009

Many industrial sites (pulp mills, hydro plants, etc.) have bicycles spread around for this purpose. When you get right down to it it's not much different, and undoubtedly less risky, than running a motor pool. The ski resort I sometimes work for has teenagers running sleds and ATVs after taking a basic operations course so some kind of basic company sponsored training and certification course my be the way to go.

The only complication would be if your area requires bike helmets and who the law applies to as it sounds like your plan is for people to use the bicycles off campus. Florida requires helmets for under 16s even on private roads and some North Carolina counties require helmets for everyone.
posted by Mitheral at 9:54 AM on October 10, 2009

The City of Boston has just started a program offering bikes for employees to get around during the day. I have not used it yet but it requires a reservation and a helmet is locked to the bike for your use. I bet they would be open to answering any questions you might have as to how they devised the program.
posted by InkaLomax at 10:55 AM on October 10, 2009

A company can't have employees sign liability waivers for risks entailed in their jobs. If the bikes are used for company business (as opposed to fun rides at lunchtime, say), then waivers will be illegal/meaningless.
posted by gum at 11:15 AM on October 10, 2009

Who would be liable if the bike was stolen while being used on a company errand? Will the company provide reliable locks and train the employees in the proper methods of locking a bike?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:16 AM on October 10, 2009

I would suggest speaking to the League of American Bicyclists about this. No doubt they can answer all kinds of questions you didn't even know you have. And possibly contact a manufacturer. Trek is pretty good about promoting these kinds of programs.
posted by headless at 10:40 PM on October 10, 2009

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