On behalf of Berkshire Ginsberg, LLC posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2012.
The rest of the country is fast learning what bicycle advocates in Portland Oregon already know – bikes equipped to carry cargo are important tools to be used in disaster relief. While bicycle accidents hog a lot of headlines, a new and more positive notoriety is attaching to bikes as Portland leads the way with its abundance of cargo bikes that can easily haul emergency supplies in the event of a catastrophe such as an earthquake or destructive storm. Serving as a guide for the rest of the country, Portland’s cargo bikers have put together a disaster response group called Neighborhood Emergency Teams, or NET. Portland’s NET was indeed a model for the impromptu bicycle brigades on the other side of the country that carried supplies to stranded victims of Mother Nature in the wake of super-storm Sandy. Such staples as potable water, diapers and flashlights were delivered via the nimble two-wheel vehicles that could navigate streets impassable to ordinary traffic. Bicycles as emergency vehicles perhaps first came to fame in the wake of a destructive earthquake in Japan in March 2011. The victims of that catastrophe learned that bikes can go where cars and trucks can’t go. Furthermore, bicycles can function without fuel, which may be scarce or non-existent. Meanwhile, the always-prepared city of Portland is prompting cargo bikers to get training and stock disaster supplies so they can be ready to ride to the community’s rescue like the “Minutemen” of old. After all, goes the argument, Portland is hardly immune from the same size quake as that which struck Japan. NET officials say that in the event of such a disaster in Portland, water mains will be broken, fuel supplies will vanish and people will find themselves camping out. They are pressing for the recruitment of more and more NET teams. A basic cargo bike costs about $1000 and on top of that is the cost of the emergency supplies. This is a small investment, say NET advocates, who hammer home that the bike rescue brigades can take the shock of having everyday needs cut off. NET beckons a whole new era of the meaning of “bike awareness.” Usually that term is touted to remind auto drivers to always be aware of the bicycles that are rightfully sharing the road. If a negligent driver should hit a bike, he or she may wind up owing compensation for any injuries. In the case of cargo bikers in NET, the compensation owed is a simple “Thank you.” Source: The Post and Courier, Bicycles an unexpected source of help in disasterstaff, November 16, 2012