“Global agencies, the EU, national governments and businesses are set to invest billions in smarter mobility,” predicts Kevin Mayne of the European Cyclists’ Federation, “and cycling could be at the heart [of this investment drive], but only if we step up and join the movement.” Mayne worries that if the impetus is lost “the money will flow towards driverless cars, e-cars and public transport.” This will result in people on bikes marginalised, even in countries such as the Netherlands.
Mayne is the development director of the Brussels-based ECF, charged with boosting links with the bike industry via the organisation’s Cycling Industry Club.
The former CEO of Britain’s Cyclists’ Touring Club (when it was CTC and not Cycling UK) told BikeBiz: “Cycling has already demonstrated that it can lead – bike sharing is one of the most successful new transport modes in recent years, and the e-bike is establishing itself as by far the leading personal e-mobility solution in the world. And there are similar innovators working in the fields of route planning, connected bikes and connecting cyclists via apps and detectors on bikes.”
However, he adds cycling has to do more to stay on the “smart” bandwagon, and will have to prove that bikes can play a key part in the connected future of Smart Cities, Intelligent Transport Systems and the Internet of Things.
In a Smart City a bike will always be within reach, says Mayne, and residents and visitors alike will be aware that cycling is a smart choice for many trips.
“Smarter Cycling looks at what cycling can learn from current trends in transport innovation and what it can offer,” says Mayne, previewing an event the ECF is organising at Eurobike. The Smarter Cycling Conference aims to attract industry executives and advocates to explore how cycling fits in to a Smart City.
Cycling must “seize this opportunity to claim its legitimate role in the emerging smart ecosystem,” says a blurb for the conference, promising the opening up of new markets.
“A total re-design of the role of mobility is paramount, with predictive technologies and intra-connectivity at its core. The role of cycling in this new Smart Cities concept can be central to how technology, infrastructure and citizen movement intersect.”
Smarter Cycling has been organised in conjunction with the owners of Eurobike and takes place 1-5pm on August 30th.