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Video: Bicycles at heart of Seattle disaster relief contingency plans

Tests next month will use cargo bikes & trailers to ferry essential supplies around - here's a video of last year's rehearsal...

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.

Disaster Relief Trials Trailer from Cantankerous Titles on Vimeo.


(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.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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