A partnership spearheaded by Supervisor Nathan Fletcher is bringing loaner e-bikes to his district. Photo via PedalAhead.org.

San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and bicycle advocacy groups Tuesday announced the formation of 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.

The initiative is intended to loan out e-bikes for daily commuting and recreational activities, with the option to own the bikes at the end of the program.

“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,” Fletcher said.

The program will initially deploy 200 Electra Townie bikes, with up to 400 e-bikes available through spring 2021. The e-bikes will be loaned 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 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.

Participants can sign up for the program at Pedalaheadsd.org, where they can fill out a survey. If participants do not meet the five-mile daily average, they can still purchase the bikes at a prorated rate after the two- year program concludes.

As part of the Pedal Ahead program, 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 a 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.

Tuesday’s Pedal Ahead launch, held at Uptown Bikes in Normal Heights, was scheduled to coincide with national Bike to Work Day. Uptown Bikes will be used by Pedal Ahead for young adult education, participant meetings, group rides, neighborhood forums, e-bike distribution and maintenance, safety inspections, skills training and rider safety education.

The Pedal Ahead program is being funded by a San Diego County Community Enhancement Program grant distributed by Fletcher’s office, The Left Coast Fund and The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund.

— City News Service

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