Check out this video of the 2012 Disaster Relief Trials in Portland. Quite simply – bicycles are better than cars at getting around after a disaster.
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That was certainly my experience after both the February and June 2011 quakes. Getting home from work on my bike was no different than a normal commute (except the traffic lights were out). Meanwhile there were a LOT of people going nowhere fast in their cars…
A friend of mine was very lucky to be on a bicycle and able to get home quickly to his very pregnant wife and 2 small children … his wife went into labor!
It is still easier to get around Christchurch by bicycle given all the closed roads and road construction. The removal of cycle lanes has not helped, but that may be corrected, some day.