Cargo Bikes Put a New “Spin” on Reaching Patients and Disaster Relief

The usefulness of cargo bikes is being realized by medical and emergency management services

Written by:

Doctors To You

Residents in DC have started seeing an unusual sight in the recent months — Dr. Brown in his signature blue scrubs cycling through the city, medical bag in tow.

Dr. Ernest Brown, Founder and CEO of Doctors To You, has embarked on a new concept of biking to his house-call patients rather than driving.

Dr. Brown founded Doctors To You in 2015 to be more a movement than a business. His goal was to diminish the divide between physician and patient and to bring medicine back to it’s roots. Based on his rave reviews and continuous kind words from patients, people seem to be responding well.

There are obvious benefits of having an electric bicycle as an option for transportation, especially in a city like Washington DC: exercise, avoiding traffic jams, better for the environment. “I had been thinking about using a regular bike for house calls for years. The problem was I couldn’t be showing up to patients houses huffing and puffing from cycling, I needed a better option,” said Brown.

This is when a partnership between Doctors To You and Hybrid Pedals of Arlington, VA, was formed. The specific model of electric bicycle being used by Dr. Brown for house calls is the Pedego Stretch bike, which is perfect for transporting his black medical bag and medication bag.

Another goal of Dr. Brown’s movement is to ensure that his patients don’t feel like a commodity. By having an electric bike, Dr. Brown is proving that he will do whatever it takes to get to them.

Having an electric bike was also extremely useful previously during the Presidential inauguration, the National Cherry Blossom Festival, among other major events. “I was told by Secret Service, before the inauguration, that there was no way I was getting through with a car,” stated Brown. This allowed him to still be able to reach patients if they needed him during the mayhem.

However, because of the high cost of the electric bicycle and the logistics of the large area that he serves, Dr. Brown won’t be able to solely rely on the bike but it is a good alternative for when driving isn’t an option.

Cargo bikes being used for medical services is a growing trend as their usefulness and capabilities are better recognized by the masses including emergency management services. People with cargo bicycles were critical during Hurricane Sandy, getting food to trapped residents and transporting medics to places vehicles couldn’t reach.

A number of cities including Seattle, Portland, and San Francisco are proving their resilience to potential disasters by organizing disaster relief trials. Participants with cargo bikes can hon their disaster relief collaboration skills by hauling water, food, blankets and medicine over courses up to 30 miles (40 kilometres) in length. Along the way they are required to stop at checkpoints to perform challenges such as navigating without electronics, getting past a one meter high obstacle, a water hazard, an off-road section and others. The idea is they’ll be ready to help if the worst-case scenario hits.

This story was contributed by Doctors To You

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