Pueblo firefighters debut new electric bikes, participate in school bike 'rodeo'

Pueblo Fire Department Capt. Ryan Moran pulled out of the parking lot of St. John Neumann Catholic School Thursday on one of the fire department's two new electric bikes. 

Behind him was a single file line of elementary students riding their own bikes, following along as Moran demonstrated bike safety in a quick ride. 

The two new bikes, paid for by a nearly $10,000 grant from the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation, are primarily meant to increase fire department readiness to respond to medical emergencies at events where getting a fire engine to the location might be impossible. 

The electric bikes, which can travel at speeds up to 32 mph, are outfitted with lights, sirens, fire decals, and a kit full of medical equipment on the back. 

"Events like the Pueblo County Fair, Chile Fest, even Safety Jam, we call those events of operational impact," Moran said.

"We can't get an engine in there, it's hard to get an ambulance on there. But with us on the bikes in the middle of it, we can navigate much faster through the crowds, get EMTs with EMS equipment there, and start primary care while we figure out how to get the patient out of the crowd and onto an ambulance." 

The fire department will also use the bikes to take part in community activities — being down on the bike trails, participating in weekly "cruiser rides" on Thursday evenings, and other community events. 

Nine firefighters have signed up so far to crew the bikes for events and community engagement, said Moran.                                                                      

The St. John Neumann bike "rodeo" held in conjunction with Pueblo Active Community Environment, provided an opportunity to debut the new bikes. 

"We thought this would be a great opportunity to show off what we want to do, what we're intending to do, and get ourselves out there with the bike community as well," said Moran. 

The day involved bike safety lessons by PACE Chair Kim Arline and member Eva Cosyleon for first through fifth-grade kids, including the principles of safe riding, how to check that the bike is in working order before getting on it, and a practical ride through the neighborhood led by Moran and firefighter Jeff Capito. 

PACE is an organization dedicated to creating a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly Pueblo, said Arline.

"We're trying to get a connected bike network, education, and a lot of policy work," she said. 

St. John Neumann Administrator Jennifer Welte said that while this was the first time they've had an event like this, she would be open to making it an annual event in the future. 

Click here to read the original story.