Generating innovation to realize new potentials in bicycle mobility
Expanding on the general call to provide for funds, competences, economic opportunities, and spaces for innovation in bicycle mobility, in the following we will specify what emphases will make most sense, and into which directions innovations can, and should, be developed.
- Innovations in design, technology, and equipment of bicycles will make them more attractive for new target groups like commuters (electric support for longer distances, reduction of maintenance needs, protection from rain and snow) and elderly (support of uphill drive, stabilization, orientation). This may also make the bicycle more attractive in developing countries, e.g. by improving safety and riding climate and reducing cost.
- Innovative accessories and clothes will further increase the attractiveness, e.g. innovative solutions against theft (steering lock), for navigation (direction indicators at the handlebar), for safety of riders (personal protection equipment, e.g. airbag) and against sweat (business clothes from functional materials suitable for bicycling).
- Innovative logistic bikes and services will achieve concrete reduction in energy used for urban freight transport. Issues like loading space, while maintaining attractive design and riding qualities, and safety of loads have to be considered.
- Innovation should not be confined to bicycles. Active mobility can also be realized with smaller vehicles (e.g. inline-skates that can quickly be fixed to normal shoes and do hardly slip on wet surfaces, push scooters with electric support drive and backrest for comfort). Towards larger vehicles the opportunities go from cargo bikes into the direction of “micro cars”, providing space for more people and allowing higher speeds, yet realized on a bicycle- centered basic technology design.
- Innovations in service offers are in high need already today. Many people do like to ride a bicycle, but otherwise not take care of it. Similar to car-related offers there is a large potential for maintenance and repair “pit stops”, furthermore for washing and innovative sharing services.
- In infrastructure development new materials make new solutions possible with a high effect on sustainability and safety. Due to the low loading per area, bicycle paths could be built without first creating a big underground layer, and without sealing surfaces. They could be laid or rolled out, and be more resistant against freezing and ice. Surfaces could even double as solar cells, and be connected to loading stations for e-supported bicycles.
- A high priority must be but on cultural sensitivity in innovation. Using local materials and production competences bicycles can be designed and built in the region for the region. Accessories may be developed for protection against dogs, ice, and mud. Service offers may offer a selection of mountain or race bikes, and transport either computers or wine barrels.
- On the basis of the bicycle drive, it may also make sense to innovate in other machinery that would otherwise be electric-driven. From farming equipment to household, from evening job to health sustaining activity, this approach offers a variety of exciting opportunities.
To help complement the argumentations and reasoning, please mail your ideas and suggestions to Elke Jorzyk