Next month, the city of Seattle on the Pacific Coast of the US will be holding Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) to gauge its levels of preparation should it be struck by a natural disaster such as an earthquake, and the bicycle is firmly at the heart of its contingency plans.
A post on the 2013 Seattle DRT blog says: “Imagine a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hitting the Seattle Fault. Freeway overpasses crumble, a Lake Washington tsunami takes chunks out of bridges.
“Motor vehicles are rendered useless, but following the example of Sandy Relief by bike, Seattle residents with bikes and trailers or cargo bikes are able to transport food and medical supplies.”
Here’s a video of last year’s DRT with cyclists on a variety of cargo bikes or towing trailers rehearse ferrying essential supplies such as water around – although the first rider speaking in the film seems equally concerned with planning his exit route should things really take a turn for the worst.
(Is it just us, or do those mock Tudor houses at the end look more like something you’d expect to find in Bromley rather than Seattle…?)
The role bicycles can play in disaster situations was highlighted last year when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City – Giant, for example, donating bikes to enable medical staff to get around in some of the areas that had been worst affected by the disaster.
Film-maker Casey Neistat got out on his bike as the floodwaters came in, as this video shows.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.