In a disaster 'bikes will be involved whether we plan for it or not'

PORTLAND, Ore. - If there is a major earthquake in the Northwest roads could crumble, bridges could fall, buildings could collapse on city streets - all leading to a scenario where Portland is truly paralyzed.

Have you ever thought about how people, especially emergency responders, would be able to get around if that happened? How do you get from place to place when other forms of transportation fail?

The answer may be what Portland is known for - bicycles.

After working in government emergency management, Joe Partridge kept noticing something in disaster presentations.

"A picture I almost always see is a line of bicycles leaving town," he said.

Partridge now encourages local governments, and everyday folks, to include bikes in their emergency response plans. His cargo bike, for example, can serve a dual purpose - bringing aid to others and an easy way to simply get around.

Partridge wants everyone to see that bikes are the answer when a traditional transportation network is disrupted.

"Bikes will be involved whether we plan for it or not," he said.

"When disasters strike, people have the same needs they would have every day," he added . "They need to get around. They need to move around. But the difference is the traditional transportation network is disrupted either because the roads are inaccessible, the bridges are damaged or they simply can't get access to fuel for their motor vehicle. That's where bicycles come in."