Another Lesson From Sandy: Biking Is Part of Emergency Preparedness

When a disaster hits — and I know several people who think it’s about to after last night’s election — you’re going to want to have a bike.

At least according to Streetsblog and The New York Times, that’s the lesson emerging from New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Apparently with the knocked-out transit system and the crippling gridlock bikes were they most efficient way to get around:

Meanwhile, the city’s new bike infrastructure is really proving its worth today. If people have to cover significant distances and want to skirt gridlock or lengthy transfers entirely, biking is the way to go. The safer bikeways that NYC DOT has built in the past five years — especially the segments that link directly to the East River bridges — are helping New Yorkers get back to work.

That Streetsblog post (as well as this one) has several illuminative pictures showing New York’s bike infrastructure in action.

The New York Times article highlights the experiences of several people who used their bikes to get around after the hurricane. One of those people, 46-year-old Thomas Jarrels, said that he even plans to use his bike more often in the future because it’s clearly beneficial:

“It saves money, and it’s less of a headache,” he said. “It gives you time to think, meditate and get your exercise on.”

When society crumbles in the face of a disaster, these bicyclists will emerge as the new kings of the streets.

Biking has been shown to benefit everyone in a community, including non-cyclists, even without a disaster. But Hurricane Sandy shows that bikes are especially good to have around when electricity and fuel run low, and when normal infrastructure becomes clogged or broken.

There’s an obvious lesson here as well about how biking is inherently more resilient and cost effective than almost any other form of transportation.

In addition, the triumph of bicycles following Sandy should be particularly appealing to many members of the Provo community who make it a point to prepare for natural disasters. In the end, having a bike and a city with a good biking system is as important as having food storage.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Another Lesson From Sandy: Biking Is Part of Emergency Preparedness

  1. Pingback: Best November Posts | (pro(vo)cation)

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