A partnership between the City of Eugene, University of Oregon and many other community partners is bringing together bike-friendly habits and disaster preparations in a unique way. The Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) is a cargo bike event to demonstrate the capabilities of bikes in disaster situations on Oct. 17 at Alton Baker Park in Eugene. This is the third annual DRT in Eugene with similar events in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco and other cities.
Registered bike riders will navigate a course through Eugene to designated check points to fulfill the criteria of the trials, using fully loaded bikes on city streets. At each check point riders will encounter obstacles or complete tasks to assist response teams, such as a neighborhood Community Emergency Response Team.
“Eugene-Springfield is well-known as being bike friendly, and the Disaster Relief Trials puts a new twist on how useful cycling is to the greater community,” said City of Eugene Transportation Options Coordinator Lindsay Selser. “As more citizens prepare for a possible earthquake or other disasters, we need to consider transportation and how people-power may be crucial to each of us.”
The DRT is also a fundraiser for Eugene-Springfield’s Safe Routes to School Bicycle Education Program. Shane MacRhodes, Safe Routes to school coordinator at 4J District, says “Beyond raising funds to support our Bike Safety Education program the DRT is a fun event that shows what bikes can do in the event of an emergency or even just for day-to-day travel.”
During the DRT event, a Resiliency Fair will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the start and finish line at Alton Baker Park. Information will be available about emergency preparedness supplies, bikes, resiliency gear and other aspects of sustainable and prepared lifestyles. The Resiliency Fair will also include music, vendors, community booths, family activities, frequent visits from DRT participants and the award ceremony at 4 p.m.
In addition to the DRT event, a “Fiets of Parenthood” short obstacle course is available for family cargo bikers and younger riders. To register,visit www.eugeneDRT.wordpress.com Prices range from $15 to $40 for riders.