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City of Portland unveils bicycle ambulance prototype

The city’s first attempt at a bike ambulance.(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland) The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management has long understood that when a disaster strikes, the…

Friday, Jun 10

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The city’s first attempt at a bike ambulance.(Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland) The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management has long understood that when a disaster strikes, the ability to use cars and trucks could be extremely limited. Because of this reality, PBEM sees bicycles as a key ingredient in their disaster response plans.

At an event Thursday night sponsored by Tern Bicycles and meant as a social mixer and check-in ahead of Saturday’s Disaster Relief Trials , PBEM staffers unveiled the latest addition to their vehicle fleet: A Tern GSD electric cargo bike. Behind the bike on a trailer was a first-aid dummy sitting on a lawn chair that was bolted to the bed of a large cargo trailer (a Bill Trailer by Surly with a wooden bed).

PBEM Operations Manager Katy Wolf said the new bike is one of two they just added to their vehicle fleet. “Our old e-bikes were old and the batteries were outdated,” she shared with me while standing outside Splendid Cycles on Southeast Ivon Street near the entrance to the Springwater Corridor path. “We needed towing capacity, something that could fit a wide range of riders, run errands, and make resupply runs.”

As for the bike ambulance, Wolf said it is a work in progress. “We want to spread awareness of the bike ambulance concept. It’s not ideal for all types of injuries, but it could work for people who need care and can’t drive.” While it’s just a rudimentary set-up at the moment, Wolf hopes it starts […]

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