I was wondering whether any of you might have opinions on the idea of approaching businesses and proactively encouraging them to establish bike fleets for their employees. I have lost count of the number of people who have come up to me saying they'd love to commute to work but for one reason or another don't. How about if firms were to offer bikes as a benefit and as part of this they also offerred maintenance and proficiency courses. I reckon half the problem relates to lack of opportunity anyway.

I know the economy is a shambles at the moment but there is an economic argument for firms buying into this - health and fitness of workforce, reducing carbon footprint and the associated good press that could bring, cost of a bike fleet over a car fleet etc etc.

This might seem a bit idealistic but I'm convinced that with the proposed investment in cycling infrastructure by City of Sydney the potential for more people to get out on bikes only improves. I'm formulating an idea of offerring a form of consultancy for companies aimed at faciltating them providing bikes and associated facilties to their workforce.

Is this all a bit pie in the sky?

Views: 100

Comment by KimR on May 18, 2009 at 10:17pm
I remember reading in Australian Cyclist about some companies maintaining on site bike fleets. They had large premises like refineries, so it was the easiest way to get around. Providing a fleet for personal use would be a different matter. The companies could want to indemnify themselves against any possible injuries to the riders. But if the company manitains the bicycles, they have a duty of care to make them roadworthy I think (I have no legal expertise).

Bikes are pretty cheap, $400 would get you a decent one. That's about the cost of running your car for 2 to 3 weeks, so I don't see it as a huge barrier. But I think a fleet would be good to entice people into cycling, and if they like it they hopefully buy a bike. I like the idea of training in maintenance and proficency.
Comment by Kim on May 18, 2009 at 11:19pm
I think Marrickville Council has a bike fleet (though I could be wrong). I work with someone who was a councillor and he said they had bikes for staff.
Comment by Dougie McGill on May 18, 2009 at 11:29pm
I think the whole idea of helmets are that they allow you travel incognito. I wouldn't show up without shower etc.
Comment by mal on May 19, 2009 at 9:34am
I think the Sydney City Council is setting up an internal bike fleet for its employees, but I think that is aimed more at moving people around at work than getting them commuting.

And I seem to remember that Fairfax (I think) achieved some amazing results by actively promoting commuting by bike. I don't think they supplied the bikes, but they set up excellent facilities and encouraged social ties eg, helping to organise bike buddies for people commuting by bike for the first time.
Comment by Neil Alexander on May 19, 2009 at 10:00am
Willoughby City Council has a bike fleet. Employees receive training before they are allowed to use it.

Here is one of the staff at a recent Ride to Work breakfast.
Comment by Carolyn on May 19, 2009 at 2:20pm
There are now a number of organisations and businesses that have a fleet of bikes for their bikes - usually for work activities but it doesn't need to be limited to that. Willoughby City Council is one example that tried to do this for years but was always blocked by issues with Risk Management. and OH&S Then Setting up a Bike Pool within a risk management framework arrived courtesy of Chris Rissel at Sydney South West Area Health Service (Health Promotion) and it was far more acceptable. It talks their language. Now much easier and it also is a good argument for those proficiency courses
http://www.cs.nsw.gov.au/pophealth/healthpro/physical/pdf/settingup_bicyclepool.pdf
Comment by naomi on May 19, 2009 at 6:07pm
I heard SHFA have some bikes for employees too.
Comment by Dylan Reynolds on May 19, 2009 at 6:12pm
Thanks the feedback, its been really informative. The risk management framework in particular is really useful.

Interesting to note that there is progressive streak running through some of our councils - I'll look to chase that up with my subsequent research.

To my mind the secret possibly lies with being able to go to a company and effectively answer all the potential questions they might pose about not doing it!.

Insurance is one issue I really need to get on top of but its very tedium is putting me off going there. I need to take a deep breath and just get on with it I guess.

As it stands I'm positioning myself as being able to cater for their bike training, retail and servicing needs. Aligned to this will be links to bike storage and setting up better end of journey facilities. I guess I'll be trying to present myself as a mobile consultancy with the ability to offer the service of setting up a bike fllet form start to finish.

Next thing I need to get on top of is who to approach in these companies and ascertain which would be most receptive to the idea.

Any other feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Comment by KimR on May 19, 2009 at 9:18pm
Westpac is really serious about reducing their GHG foot print, they are down to less than 7 tonnes per employee per year, when the industry average is nearly double that. They have spent a lot of money on energy conservation, so might look with interest at reducing CO2 emissions from travelling to work. BP are now calling themsleves 'Beyond Petroleum' so you never know.
Comment by mal on May 19, 2009 at 10:40pm
I reckon there's some scope for that sort of facilitation Dylan. The company I work for, for example, is really keen to stress how well it is doing environmentally, and it's trying to suggest ways that employees can modify their behaviour to be environmentally sound. It provides decent cycling facilities (excellent change rooms, reasonable bike storage (racks, no cages), no long proper lockers), but is not at all proactive about getting people to cycle in.

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