bikes and disasters

Disaster Relief Trials back (and bigger) for second year

by on May 7th, 2013 at 9:41 am

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Joe Partridge competing in the 2012 event.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Disaster Relief Trials, an event that showcases the capabilities of cargo bikes in disaster response, will be bigger and better and this year. After a successful inaugural event last year (which has already spawned similar events in Boulder and Seattle), organizers have loaded up the event with new sponsors, new events, a larger expo area, a new location, and much more.

The idea behind the DRT is to put cargo bikes and their riders through a series of tasks that simulate how the bikes would function in response to a major natural disaster (such as an earthquake) when fuel is rationed and roads and bridges are impassible by motor vehicles. Last year, 30 competitors participated while a HAM radio-powered command center tracked their movements via a home base at Velo Cult bicycles in Hollywood.
[Read more…]

Emergency expert now consultant for using bikes during disasters

by on April 25th, 2013 at 9:55 am

Joe Partridge at OATS

Joe Partridge at the Oregon Active
Transportation Summit yesterday.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Following the tsunami in Japan in 2011, the idea of using bicycles in response to major disasters has quickly gained momentum around the country. Now the former Deputy for Planning and Preparedness for Multnomah County’s Emergency Management Disivion, Joe Partridge, has left his job at the County to launch Genevieve Consulting. One of the main focus areas of Partridge’s new company is, “integrating bikes and active transportation into emergency management”

You might recall Partridge’s perspective on bikes and disasters from an interview we published with him back in May 2011. Now Partridge is combining his expertise from 15 years of working in emergency management with his respect and appreciation of bicycles to take his ideas to the next level. Partridge had a booth at the Oregon Active Transportation Summit yesterday and is already making connections with government agencies and advocates throughout the state.

Here’s more about his new business:[Read more…]

More from the bikes/disaster front

by on December 13th, 2012 at 11:53 am

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Ready for the apocalypse.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Along with women on bikes, another major biking theme that has gone from trend to full-fledged movement in 2012 is the connection between bicycles and disasters. From our local efforts here in Portland, to national attention thanks to hurricane Sandy, this is an idea whose time has come.

Check out the developments below, all of which underscore the momentum the bikes/disaster connection has going for it.

Local filmmaker Joe Biel of Cantakerous Titles is working on a documentary about last summer’s Disaster Relief Trials event. Joe filmed the event while being pulled in a cargo trailer and earlier this week he released a trailer of the forthcoming documentary:[Read more…]

City of Portland releases video about bikes in New York City after Sandy

by on November 29th, 2012 at 11:57 am

“Bikes prove useful in Sandy aftermath,”
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…[Read more…]

National spotlight shines on role of bikes in disaster response

by on November 20th, 2012 at 2:08 pm

Screen grab of The Rachel Maddow Show last night.

It’s been a good year for the idea that bikes are the ultimate disaster response vehicles.

What started as a niche thing here in Portland (promoted by a few emergency preparedness hobbyists with a penchant for cargo bikes), spread east to New York after superstorm Sandy; and then last night the idea made its big, prime-time national cable TV debut.
[Read more…]

KGW TV: “Bikes can be a lifeline” after disaster strikes

by on November 6th, 2012 at 10:23 am

Screen grab of Woodlawn’s cargo bike disaster response unit.
– Watch video below –

KGW TV (Portland’s NBC affiliate station) ran a feature segment last night about how cargo bikes will play a role in our disaster response plans. It’s a story we shared back in March, and after superstorm Sandy proved once again that bikes are the most reliable and resilient form of transportation after a major natural disaster, the story is even more timely.

“When roads are wiped out, and supplies scarce,” noted KGW reporter Abbey Gibb, “bikes can be a lifeline… Cargo bikes, and bikes in general, are the simplest answer.”[Read more…]

While Sandy recovery continues, signs of hope on two wheels

by on November 1st, 2012 at 4:27 pm

Times Up bike charging station -4

East Village residents happily hop onto a free bike-powered charging station provided by activist group Times Up.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

Biking and walking rule in a city sans subway

by on October 31st, 2012 at 12:33 pm

NYC sans subway-11

While the subway tracks sat empty, the path on the Queensboro Bridge was at capacity this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

Researcher considers cargo bikes as tools for social justice

by on July 25th, 2012 at 10:26 am

Jane Pearce

Cargo bike researcher Jane Pearce.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

If more people of modest means had access to an affordable, dependable cargo bike, could they avoid being sucked into “forced car ownership”? Can cargo bikes play a role in rebuilding a city devastated by a major earthquake? Jane Pearce, a PhD student in the Geography department of Canterbury University in Christchurch, New Zealand visited Portland for two weeks this past June to better understand those questions and to further explore the social justice implications of cargo bikes.

On February 22, 2011, a massive earthquake ripped through Pearce’s hometown of Christchurch. 180 people died and much of the city remains, a macabre reminder of what was lost that day. Pearce came to Portland because of the extensive community that has developed around cargo bikes here; but, as a survivor of the Christchurch quake, she found special significance in the Disaster Relief Trials event. [Read more…]

Cargo bikes reach new heights at ‘Disaster Relief Trials’

by on June 18th, 2012 at 11:40 am

Disaster Relief Trials -75

Michael Jones loads boxes of first-aid supplies
at a checkpoint located at the Red Cross on
N Vancouver Ave.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Sunday’s inaugural Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) was a big success on many levels.

The mock disaster scenario (a major earthquake) that the event was based on gave emergency responders and cargo bike enthusiasts a lot to think about. Disaster preparedness volunteers with the City’s Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NET) and the County’s Amateur Radio Emergency Service learned how to relay messages during a crisis, cargo bike builders learned how their designs performed under a variety of challenging, real-world conditions, and cargo bike operators learned how to push through the limits of pedal power.[Read more…]