Kaiser Permanente/Drive Oregon E-Bike Initiative Kickoff

E-bikes prepared for delivery.

We are happy to announce a successful kickoff of the e-bike commute initiative with Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Drive Oregon, and OTREC at Portland State University! This week OTREC and Drive Oregon went to three Kaiser Permanente campuses across the Portland metropolitan region to help deliver 30 electric-assist bicycles to participants in a two-year pilot project with over 180 participants.

On Tuesday, participants gathered at Kaiser Permanente Building in the Lloyd District to receive their orientation about the initiative. Kevin Chudy of Bike N Hike gave an introduction to electric bicycles and Steve Boughton of Washington County Bicycle Transportation Coalition provided basic bicycle safety training for the participants new to the biking scene. Following a Q & A session, participants were given e-bikes to use for 10 weeks. Kaiser Permanente Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro and Sunnyside Medical Center in Sunnyside also had orientation on their campuses this week.

The project aims to evaluate the use of e-bikes to see if they are a viable means of urban transportation. Rich Smith, Vice President of Human Resources at Kaiser Permanente, sees the pilot program as exemplary of the holistic interest in health that Kaiser Permanente has. "Being a leader in total health means supporting safe, healthy alternative transportation where our employees, members and the communities we serve live, work and play," Smith said. In an effort to encourage the use of pubic transit and more active modes of transportation, participants were asked to use their e-bike for a range of purposes, not just commuting to work.

Through survey instruments and GPS devices installed on the e-bikes, John MacArthur, principal investigator of the study at OTREC, hopes to evaluate how participants use their e-bike and understand their perceptions of the experience. The surveys were designed to measure the typology of the bicycle rider, their preconceived notions about e-bikes, and their transportation habits. Another survey will be sent after the participants have returned the e-bike to see how the experience might have impacted their perceptions of e-bikes, cycling, and use of public transportation.

Visit the project's Facebook page to get updates and view the discussion. Follow us on Twitter at @OTREC_EV and keep an eye out for hastag #eBikeActive. For information about the pilot project, contact Zach Henkin of Drive Oregon. To learn more about the study, contact John MacArthur of OTREC.

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OTREC is a university transportation center, based at Portland State University that houses the National Institute for Transportation and Communities (NITC) and the Initiative for Bicycle and Pedestrian Innovation (IBPI). http://www.otrec.us/

Drive Oregon is a nonprofit 501(c)(6) trade association dedicated to growing the electric mobility industry in Oregon. Members include innovators, entrepreneurs, and established industry leaders throughout the entire supply chain. http://driveoregon.org/

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. Founded in 1945, the organization serves the health needs of more than 8.4 million people nationwide. More than 495,000 people in Oregon and Southwest Washington receive their health care from Kaiser Permanente. For more information, go to www.kp.org/newscenter.