Google is synonymous with state of the art. This high-tech company is at the cutting edge of more than just technology. They are also rated as one of the companies offering the best perks to employees. Such benefits include a breakfast bar, on-site gym, corporate massage therapists, tuition reimbursement, and paternity leave. One of the best perks, at least in the mind of cyclists: Google offers company bicycles. The only problem is, the bikes keep disappearing!
Google’s massive 26-acre campus in California, referred to as “The Googleplex,” is obscenely large. The campus is staffed by 20,000 employees. Offices stretch across the campus, and employees frequently have to walk great distances to get from place to place. Google added a fleet of bicycles to The Googleplex to offer employees a faster way to get from place to place while on campus. From all reports, these near-garish multicolored bikes have been a smash hit but there has been one big problem – they keep getting stolen.
Google added the fleet of 1,100 bicycles in 2009 and has noted that they require great maintenance. The problem isn’t so much lubing the chains and keeping the tires inflated, though. Google reports that between 100 and 250 of their “Gbikes” leave campus, never to return, each week. While these thefts represent a tiny loss to such a large company, Google is struggling to keep enough bikes for their employees on campus.
Thirty contractors have been hired to keep track of the bikes. They are to monitor the bikes on campus and extend into the areas beyond campus to try and recover some of the pilfered bicycles. With the help of five vans and the contractors, Google hopes to slowly rebuild their fleet. While some bicycles have remained close to “home,” others have gone across the country. It remains to be seen just how successful this fleet of contractors will be in their quest.
Knowing the ever-extending reach of Google’s technological power, it seems surprising that they haven’t found a way to keep their bikes on campus. Based on their plans, though, that is on the horizon. Google plans to give employees a special app to unlock the bikes. Google incorporated GPS units onto their bikes beginning last year, though this has done little to curb the thefts. GPS-tracked Google bikes can be found as far north as Alaska and as far south as Mexico.
Many in the community admit to “borrowing” Google bikes. Employees admit to taking them home, and two Gbikes were even found on the roof of a local bar! One Oracle employee says he rides one to work – though given Google’s ambitions to bring the bikes home, perhaps his cycling commute days are numbered. Some locals complain that Google is creating a fuss and that they should willingly “share” their bicycles. But most seem to realize that the problem has gotten out of hand.
Whether you are on a Gbike or your own, paid-for bicycle, if you have been in a bicycle crash, we want to hear from you! When you call Kass & Moses, you speak to directly to an experienced bicycle crash attorney. We work hard to help injured cyclists get the compensation they deserve as they focus on recovering from their injuries. We are available 24 hours a day so feel free to call anytime for a free consultation.