Rider Safety Visibility (RSV), a San Diego-based nonprofit, has received a $200,000 grant to support workforce development training for young adults ages 18-26 in the burgeoning bicycle industry, which has seen significant sales growth amid the pandemic. The training and education component will be part of RSV’s innovative Pedal Ahead program, a community electric bicycle initiative that launched on September 22 for participants in San Diego County Supervisorial District 4.

RSV was awarded the grant by The San Diego Foundation COVID-19 Community Response Fund – in large part due to funding support from San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E). To date, SDG&E has donated $2 million to the Fund with plans to donate an additional million in 2021.

The COVID-19 Community Response Fund awards grants to local nonprofits that support low-income workers, families, and vulnerable communities most affected by the coronavirus crisis, as well as support efforts to spur economic recovery. To date, the fund has raised $27.6 million and distributed $26.5 million in grants.

“Amid the COVID-19 economic crisis, one of the bright spots is the surge in bike sales and people riding their bikes. The launch of the RSV program could not come at a better time,” said Eugene “Mitch” Mitchell, SDG&E’s vice president of state governmental and external affairs. “We are excited by its potential to help create new career pathways, inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in the bike industry, and encourage a greener and healthier way to get around.”

RSV will support workforce development in these communities by providing an opportunity to the targeted age group to participate in internships, mentorships and education classes through a Community Center partnership with Uptown Bicycles. RSV has worked with leaders in the bicycle industry to develop a curriculum to include small business entrepreneurship, marketing and sales and mechanical bicycle maintenance. Through a network of partners in both the local and national bicycling industries, the program will also allow additional opportunities for young adults to gain real-world work experiences, which include learning maintenance on traditional and electric bicycles, group rides, and participating in events that support the electric bicycle incubator program.

The RSV program is being launched at a time when the bicycle industry is experiencing dramatic growth amid the coronavirus pandemic, with sales in all retail channels growing 75 percent in April to a total of $1 billion. According to the NPD Group, traditional bicycles at lower price points for family use and neighborhood riding has shown the strongest ever year-over-year sales gains. In addition, e-bike growth has continued at historic levels with sales up 84 percent in March, 92 percent in April and 137 percent in May.

“The bicycle industry, with an emphasis on e-bikes, is affording many opportunities for workers, and job seekers, in all aspects of our neighborhoods, including mechanics, sales and marketing and brand representatives,” said Ed Clancy, co-founder of Rider Safety Visibility.

“The opportunity to learn the ins and outs of electric bicycles is paramount, as they remain an ideal transportation solution during the COVID-19 pandemic as consumers are looking to avoid public transportation, and in the post-corona era as e-bikes are proven as a viable and credible solution. The industry will need professionals who understand this growing category of bicycles.”

“We are at the beginning of what will be a long process of recovery in our region,” shared Mark Stuart, President & CEO of The San Diego Foundation. “Since launching the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, we have witnessed incredible acts of generosity and it will continue to take an unprecedented philanthropic response to help all the San Diegans in need over the coming months and years.”

About The San Diego Foundation

The San Diego Foundation inspires enduring philanthropy and enables community solutions to improve quality of life in our region. For more than 45 years, The Foundation and our donors have granted more than $1.2 billion to support nonprofit organizations and strengthen our San Diego community. Learn more at SDFoundation.org, and consider a donation to the San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, helping nonprofits and San Diegans affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

About San Diego Gas & Electric

SDG&E is an innovative San Diego-based energy company that provides clean, safe and reliable energy to better the lives of the people it serves in San Diego and southern Orange counties. The company is committed to creating a sustainable future by providing its electricity from renewable sources; modernizing natural gas pipelines; accelerating the adoption of electric vehicles; supporting numerous non-profit partners; and, investing in innovative technologies to ensure the reliable operation of the region’s infrastructure for generations to come. SDG&E is a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (NYSE: SRE). For more information, visit SDGEnews.com or connect with SDG&E on Twitter (@SDGE), Instagram (@SDGE) and Facebook

About Rider Safety Visibility

Rider Safety Visibility 501 c3 is an official charitable organization and grant recipient of the San Diego County’s Community Enhancement Program, The Left Coast Fund, and The San Diego Foundation’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The Pedal Ahead program supports e-bike ridership opportunities to address environmental challenges, promote healthy living and create communities in vibrant and bikeable District 4 as well as providing young adult workforce development through internships, mentorships and education classes in the bicycling industry in partnership with Uptown Bicycles, 3426 Adams Avenue, San Diego. For more information, visit www.pedalahead.com and www.ridersafetyvisibility.com.