Boosting Safety and Visibility: Introducing San Diego County’s ‘Pedal Ahead’ Electric Bike Community Program

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Groundbreaking Program: Partnering to Address Environmental Challenges and Create Vibrant Communities

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Introduction

At Electric Bike Report, we are thrilled to discover new initiatives around the world that promote environmental sustainability and personal health through eBikes. Today, we are excited to share the story of the recently launched Pedal Ahead electric bicycle community program from San Diego County. This collaboration project involves various local stakeholders and aims to make a positive impact on the community. Read on to learn more about this groundbreaking program.

Pedal Ahead: A Two-Year Emission-Reducing Program

On September 22, Rider Safety Visibility (RSV), in partnership with San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, unveiled Pedal Ahead. This innovative program will span two years and is specifically designed to serve as an alternative to automobile transportation in the fourth supervisorial district. With a particular focus on areas such as Chollas, City Heights, Encanto, Linda Vista, Rolando, and Redwood Village, Pedal Ahead’s primary goal is to enhance the quality of life for residents by making e-bikes available for daily commuting and recreational activities. Additionally, this program will support young adult workforce development in the booming bicycle industry. Partnering with Uptown Bicycles in Normal Heights, Pedal Ahead aims to provide training and education opportunities for individuals aged 18-26.

Deploying Electric Bikes and Supporting Participants

To kickstart the program, Pedal Ahead will initially deploy 200 Electra Townie GO! Models, with up to 400 e-bikes available by spring 2021. These e-bikes will cater to individuals aged 18 and above, and participants will be expected to ride an average of five miles per day throughout the two-year period. To ensure the safety and security of the participants, proof of insurance covering liability, loss, theft, and damage to the e-bike is required. Additionally, participants will be asked to use a GPS technology app to track and report mileage and trip patterns for an e-bike study conducted by the non-profit organization Rider Safety Visibility.

Elevating Safety and Visibility

As part of the Pedal Ahead package, Ride Safety Visibility will provide each participant with a comprehensive safety and visibility package. This package includes a helmet, high-visibility vest, as well as front and rear bicycle lights and locks for added security. Furthermore, the e-bikes themselves will be equipped with specialized devices to secure the front wheels and seats.

Participants’ Ownership and Signing Up

Upon completion of the program, the e-bikes will become the property of the Pedal Ahead participants. If you are interested in participating in this groundbreaking initiative, sign up today at www.pedalahead.com.

Supervisor Fletcher’s Support and Community Involvement

Supervisor Nathan Fletcher expressed his excitement about the program, stating, “By introducing e-bikes into our communities, we are not only promoting environmental sustainability but also fostering healthy living and supporting people in commuting to work, school, and other significant destinations.”

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Rider Safety Visibility’s Co-founder, Ed Clancy, is actively collaborating with various community organizations in District 4 and recruiting Pedal Ahead ambassadors. The aim is to spread awareness about this community-based electric bicycle program and engage more individuals in embracing active and healthy lifestyles.

As Clancy mentioned, “Through the Pedal Ahead program, we will initiate, operate, and analyze the impact of electric bike transportation in District 4 communities. By bringing together key stakeholders, including bicycle and industry leaders, alternative transportation advocates, as well as business and community members, Pedal Ahead offers riders countless opportunities to enhance their quality of life and promote physical well-being.”

Uptown Bikes: Enhancing Young Adult Education and Community Engagement

Introduction

Uptown Bikes, owned by Curtis Allen, serves as a versatile hub for an array of programs aimed at empowering young adults. These initiatives encompass educational sessions, participant meetings, group rides, neighborhood forums, e-bike distribution and maintenance, safety inspections, skills training, and rider safety education.

Impacting Lives: The Testimonial

Among the dedicated Pedal Ahead Ambassadors is Helen Wonjila, whose inspiring words captured the essence of the program during the September 22 launch event. She exclaimed, “As a family with only one car, the Pedal Ahead program has proven to be a game-changer for us. It greatly facilitates our family activities while simultaneously improving our overall health. By embracing a car-free lifestyle, we can now take our 18-month-old daughter to more exciting places, embark on lengthy rides, and bid farewell to parking-related worries. Undeniably, these electric bikes have left us in awe.”

Key Contributors: An Unwavering Support

The Pedal Ahead launch event witnessed the presence of esteemed individuals who shared their invaluable insights. Notable presenters included Ed Clancy, co-founder of Rider Safety Visibility, Kevin Cox, CEO of Electra Bicycles, and Maleeka Marsden, Co-Director of Policy at the Climate Action Campaign.

Generous Funding: A Collaborative Effort

To ensure the success of the Pedal Ahead program, funding has been secured through the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program grant, distributed by Supervisor Fletcher’s office. Additional support has been garnered from The Left Coast Fund and The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

Paving the Path to Success

Recognizing the significance of this initiative, The San Diego Foundation COVID-19 Community Response Fund awarded a grant to Rider Safety Visibility (RSV). San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) played a pivotal role in facilitating this contribution, having already donated $2 million to the Fund, with plans to add another million in 2021.

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Supporting the Vulnerable: A Community Response

The COVID-19 Community Response Fund aims to provide aid to local nonprofits that focus on supporting low-income workers, families, and vulnerable communities immensely affected by the ongoing coronavirus crisis. Additionally, it strives to bolster efforts towards economic recovery. To date, the fund has raised an impressive $27.6 million, allowing the distribution of $26.5 million in essential grants.

Embracing a Sustainable Future

Expressing his delight, Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell, SDG&E’s vice president of state governmental and external affairs, highlighted the opportune launch of the RSV program amidst the COVID-19 economic crisis. He remarked, “The surge in bike sales and people embracing cycling during these challenging times creates a perfect environment for the RSV program. We are excited about its potential to not only pave the way for new career opportunities but also inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs within the bike industry. Most importantly, it encourages a greener and healthier means of transportation.”

Bridging Communities Through Development

RSV, in collaboration with Uptown Bicycles, aims to foster workforce development within the targeted age group. This endeavor will be realized through the provision of internships, mentorships, and educational classes facilitated by a Community Center partnership. In addition, RSV has worked closely with industry leaders to implement a comprehensive curriculum, covering small business entrepreneurship, marketing, sales, and mechanical bicycle maintenance. Through a network of local and national partners, the program also opens doors for young adults to gain invaluable real-world work experiences. These opportunities range from learning bicycle maintenance for both traditional and electric bicycles to participating in group rides and supporting events linked to the electric bicycle incubator program.

The Rising Demand in E-Bikes

Kim Merrill, co-founder of Rider Safety Visibility, emphasized the vast range of employment opportunities arising within the bicycle industry, with a special emphasis on e-bikes. She stated, “Professions such as mechanics, sales and marketing, and brand representatives are now flourishing in our neighborhoods. Understanding the intricate workings of electric bicycles is crucial, as they continue to be an ideal transportation solution amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers seek alternatives to public transportation, and as we transition into a post-corona era. The industry necessitates professionals who possess a comprehensive understanding of this evolving category.”

Uniting in Philanthropic Endeavors

Mark Stuart, President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation, acknowledged the beginning of a long process of recovery within the region. Reflecting on the collective efforts to combat the impact of COVID-19, he remarked, “Since the inception of the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, we have witnessed remarkable acts of generosity. Our response must be unprecedented, ensuring that all San Diegans in need receive the necessary support throughout the coming months and years.

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Partners and Supporters of Pedal Ahead

Pedal Ahead is proud to have the following partners and supporters:

  • 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
  • Hammond Climate Solutions
  • San Diego Continuing Education
  • San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E)
  • San Diego Workforce Partnership
  • YMCA of San Diego County

Explore our Drop Box Gallery

Watch the Pedal Ahead Video

Visit the Pedal Ahead Website

Discover Uptown Bicycles

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation is dedicated to inspiring charitable giving and promoting community solutions that enhance the quality of life in our region. Over the past 45 years, The Foundation and its generous donors have contributed more than $1.2 billion to support nonprofit organizations, making a lasting impact within the San Diego community. To learn more about The San Diego Foundation, please visit SDFoundation.org. Additionally, you can make a meaningful contribution to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, which provides assistance to nonprofits and individuals affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

About San Diego Gas & Electric

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is an innovative energy company serving the diverse communities of San Diego and southern Orange counties. Committed to providing clean, safe, and reliable energy, SDG&E empowers the lives of its customers. Through its use of renewable energy sources, modernization of natural gas pipelines, promotion of electric vehicle adoption, collaboration with nonprofit partners, and investment in cutting-edge technologies, SDG&E actively contributes to creating a sustainable future for generations to come. To find more information about SDG&E, please visit SDGEnews.com, or follow them on Twitter (@SDGE), Instagram (@SDGE), and Facebook.

About Rider Safety Visibility

Rider Safety Visibility is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization and recipient of grants from various entities, including the San Diego County’s Community Enhancement Program, The Left Coast Fund, and The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. As part of the Pedal Ahead program, Rider Safety Visibility fosters e-bike ridership opportunities that address environmental challenges and promote a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, the organization actively contributes to the development of vibrant and bikeable communities in District 4 by offering young adults workforce development through internships, mentorships, and education classes in the bicycling industry. This initiative is accomplished in collaboration with Uptown Bicycles, located at 3426 Adams Avenue, San Diego. For more details, please visit www.pedalahead.com and www.ridersafetyvisibility.com.