reads PBEM home page.
The idea that bicycles can play a large role in how cities respond to natural disasters continues to gain momentum. What started as something of a niche curiosity here in Portland, has matured into a serious topic of discussion among bike advocates and the national media (thanks in large part to superstorm Sandy). Now it seems city governments are taking note. And again, Portland is taking the lead.
The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management has just released a video about the role bicycles played in Sandy. I thought they were making a more general video about bikes and disasters; but it turned out to focus entirely on my post-Sandy experiences in Manhattan and Brooklyn. I was happy to share my perspectives on the topic and I’m excited that PBEM has taken such a keen interest. Watch the video below…
This is just one part of PBEM’s work to better understand the role bicycles can play during and after disasters. They’re working through their Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NET) program and in the future I could see them adopting official bike-oriented disaster response policies and guidelines. For now, let’s appreciate the fact that PBEM is keeping the momentum going on this topic.
“The bureau encourages Portlanders to integrate these lessons into their own preparedness plans,” reads a sentence on PBEM’s website.
On a related note, another sign that shows this idea has arrived is the latest title in local publisher Elly Blue’s Taking the Lane series. It’s called Disaster! Bicycling through the apocalypse.
(NOTE: The video was produced by Randy Neves, a former reporter for KGW-TV who’s now the public information officer for PBEM.)