Photo credit: Kirsty Hall
In their ongoing effort to reach out to new cyclists, PDOT has started a program aimed at getting seniors aged 60 and over riding again.
Officially named the Older Adult Three-Wheeled Bicycle Program, the program is already proving to be a big success.
According to PDOT literature, in Holland and Germany people over seventy-five years of age make around half of all their trips by bike or foot, compared with only six percent of Americans sixty-five and older.
In order to make cycling safer and more accessible to seniors they have purchased a fleet of three-wheeled trikes and are offering free, twice-a-week sessions at Willamette Park in Southwest Portland.
Program Coordinator Kirsty Hall is very pleased with the outcome of the program so far,
“The rides have been going smashingly so far. It’s been great to see how inspiring riding a bicycle can be too. Several of the seniors I’ve taught to ride have expressed a strong desire to purchase their own three-wheeled bicycle to use around their neighbourhood to run errands such as picking up their prescriptions, or shopping for groceries nearby.
Also, according to Kirsty some local senior centers and farmers’ markets have shown interest in having the bicycles available at their locations for seniors to use.
Here’s what Kirsty said about some of the participants,
“Yesterday, one man with emphysema was so excited at riding a bicycle again, he managed to ride the length of the Willamette Greenway not once, but twice! And seeing how excited an 81 year old lady who hadn’t ridden a bicycle in over 60 years became once she hopped onto one of our trikes was wonderful for me.”
But beyond just having fun on bikes, PDOT is partnering with an OHSU researcher who is looking into how seniors might retain function as they age, and how cycling could play a part in that. They’re also using feedback from the program to develop a new senior section of the soon-to-be updated Portland Bicycle Master Plan.
For more details or to learn more about the Older Adult Three-Wheeled Bicycle Program, please contact Kirsty Hall by phone at 503-823-7854 or by email at kirsty.hall [at] trans.ci.portland.or.us.