SEATTLE, WA (BRAIN)—Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center of Seattle today is unveiling a new bike-sharing program for employees consisting of a fleet of 10 Breezer Town bikes.
The bikes will be used by staff at its downtown Seattle research facilities to travel between research office buildings, the main hospital and other area hospitals and clinics, as well as for employees to try commuting in to work.
“We’re really excited. It’s a fairly small fleet for us but it’s a case study. We’re trying to see how we can implement a program on a larger scale,” said Natalie Gulsrud, commuter services specialist at Children’s Hospital of Seattle.
“Children’s is really committed to developing solutions for our community in terms of transportation challenges,” she added. “We’re concerned about the health of children and our employees and saw it as opportunity to offer healthy choices for them to use bikes during lunch or try commuting for the first time.”
The pilot fleet is the latest initiative—and one of many Children’s Hospital already has in place—to encourage bike commuting among its employees, Gulsrud said. The hospital’s commute services department also offers incentives such as $50 a month for employees who bike to work, and its facilities are equipped with lockers, showers and offer towel services.
To encourage riding, Children’s Hospital has a bike buddy program so those new to riding can partner with more experienced cyclists. It’s also providing cycling safety classes and giving out helmets and safety vests to those participating.
Children’s Hospital will also gather data through computers it is mounting on each bike, such as miles ridden, how many calories were burned and pounds of CO2 saved. It will also assess people’s attitude, behavior and knowledge and how that shifts from them using the bikes.
“I think we’re going to see businesses leading the way in terms of innovative transportation solutions because they’re more flexible in terms of revenue and services, and can tap into population that’s receptive to it,” said Gulsrud, who lived in Germany and rode her bike there everyday.