Supervisor Fletcher & Rider Safety Visibility Launch Pedal Ahead Electric Bicycle Community Program
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, in partnership with the 501c3 Rider Safety Visibility (RSV), today launched Pedal Ahead, a two-year, emission-reducing program designed to serve as an alternative to automobile transportation in the fourth supervisorial district, with a particular focus on Chollas, City Heights, Encanto, Linda Vista, Rolando and Redwood Village. Pedal Ahead’s goal is to provide quality of life improvement for residents by making e-bikes available for daily commuting and recreational activities.
Supervisor Fletcher says, “By bringing e-bikes into our communities, we are creating opportunities for environmental sustainability, healthy living, and helping people commute to work, school and other important destinations.”
The program will initially deploy 200 Electra Townie GO! Models, with up to 400 e-bikes available through spring 2021. The e-bikes will be available to people ages 18 and up with Pedal Ahead participants required to ride an average of five miles per day over the course of the two-year period. Participants are required to show proof of insurance that covers the liability, loss, theft and damage to their e-bike, and use a GPS technology app to track and report mileage and trip patterns to the non-profit Rider Safety Visibility for an e-bike study.
As part of the Pedal Ahead package, Ride Safety Visibility will provide each participant with a safety and visibility package that includes helmet, high-visibility vest, front and rear bicycle lights and lock for security. Each e-bike will also be equipped with devices that secure front wheels and seats.
At the conclusion of the program, the e-bike becomes the Pedal Ahead participants’ to own. People interested in participating can sign up at www.pedalahead.com.
Rider Safety Visibility Co-founder Ed Clancy is partnering with several District 4 community organizations and recruiting Pedal Ahead ambassadors to spread the word about this community-based electric bicycle program.
“Under the Pedal Ahead program, we will be initiating, operating, analyzing the impact of electric bike transportation in District 4 communities,” Clancy said. “Pedal Ahead brings together bicycle and industry leaders, alternative transportation, business and community members alike, to provide riders with opportunities to improve quality of life and promote active healthy lifestyles.”
Today’s Pedal Ahead launch, held at Uptown Bikes, 3426 Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, to coincide with national Bike There (or to Work) Day. Uptown Bikes in Normal Heights is Pedal Ahead’s designated community center. Owned by Curtis Allen, the bike shop will be used for program young adult education, participant meetings, group rides, neighborhood forums, e-bike distribution and maintenance, safety inspections, skills training and rider safety education.
One of the Pedal Ahead Ambassadors is Helen Wonjila, who spoke at today’s launch and said, “As a one car household, the Pedal Ahead program really helps with our family activities and improving our health. We can take our 18-month-old daughter to more places by going car-free to the park, taking long rides and not have to worry about parking. I think these electric bikes are truly amazing”
Other presenters at today’s launch included Ed Clancy, co-founder of Rider Safety Visibility, Kevin Cox, CEO of Electra Bicycles, and Maleeka Marsden, Co-Director of Policy, Climate Action Campaign.
Marsden, who’s organization is working to tackle climate change said Pedal Ahead is a Win-win for resident and the San Diego County Environment. “Pedal Ahead is an exciting program to help more San Diegans enjoy the many benefits of getting around by bike and helping us achieve a zero-carbon future,” said Marsden.
The Pedal Ahead program is being funded by a County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program grant distributed by Supervisor Fletcher’s Office, The Left Coast Fund and The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
"Transportation is the biggest source of CO2 emissions in San Diego, and biking is a simple and healthy way to move us closer to our regional goal of zero emissions," said Tara Hammond, founder and CEO of Hammond Climate Solutions, whose client Left Coast Fund provided financial support for the Pedal Ahead program, "Pedal Ahead will serve as a model for our region and ensure our elected officials keep safe and efficient biking in mind when creating strategies to meet climate and equity goals, creating a healthier, more sustainable and just future for all of us."
Pedal Ahead partners and supporters include County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Uptown Bicycles, Electra Bicycles, NiteRider Technical Lighting, ArroWhere Equipment, PinHead Bike Security, Kali Protectives, California Bicycles, Rocky Mounts, Lot204 Marketing, Adams Avenue Business Improvement District, Broadway Heights Community Council, Linda Vista Town Council, Mid-City CAN Increase Transit – City Heights, Hammond Climate Solutions, San Diego Continuing Education, SDG&E, San Diego Workforce Partnership and the YMCA of San Diego County.