Tag Archive: research

  1. New bicycle chair starts in February

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    Source: Fiets Berad

    Cycling professor, Dr. Meredith Glaser, appointed as academic expert for more and safer bicycle traffic in Flanders

    Dr. Meredith Glaser, an expert in sustainable mobility from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), has been appointed as the inaugural chair holder for the newly established Bicycle Chair at Ghent University. This initiative, spearheaded by Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters, aims to bolster Flanders’ ambitious cycling policy with academic knowledge and insights.

    The significance of cycling as a mode of transportation has increased significantly in recent years, accompanied by substantial investments in cycling infrastructure in Flanders. To further support this positive trend with scientific research, a new Bicycle Chair will be launched at Ghent University, with financial and substantive support from the Flemish government. The academic work that the chair will produce this is will contribute to mobility policy and social debate on bicycle mobility in Flanders. Dr. Meredith Glaser, the appointed chair holder, will engage in various course units at Ghent University and work closely with stakeholders involved in Flemish cycling policy.

    Dr. Meredith Glaser: Internationally Renowned Cycling Expert

    Dr. Glaser, an American with approximately 15 years of experience in spatial planning, transport, and mobility, brings a wealth of expertise to her new role. Having earned her master’s degree in urban planning and public health from the University of California Berkeley, and her doctorate in spatial planning from the University of Amsterdam (UvA), she has established herself as a leading figure in the field. Dr. Glaser currently serves as the executive director of the non-profit organization Urban Cycling Institute and is a lecturer at the Faculty of Society & Behavior at the UvA. Her collaboration with renowned Dutch cycling expert Prof. Dr. Marco te Brömmelstroet underscores her international standing in the realm of cycling policy.

    Flemish Minister of Mobility and Public Works Lydia Peeters expressed her enthusiasm for Dr. Glaser’s appointment, highlighting the need for robust research and scientific insights to advance cycling policy in Flanders. Dr. Glaser herself emphasized the growing recognition of cycling’s potential to address various societal challenges, stressing the importance of translating academic research into tangible policy initiatives.

    Prof. Frank Witlox of the Geography Department at Ghent University praised Dr. Glaser’s credentials and expressed anticipation for their collaboration, emphasizing her profound dedication to the field of cycling.

    Elevating Cycling Policy through Scientific Research

    As a part-time visiting professor, Dr. Glaser will conduct scientific research on several specific themes, including bicycle safety, influencing bicycle behaviour and use, and the development of smart technology to enhance cycling comfort and safety. These themes have been selected in consultation with a supervisory committee comprising representatives from Ghent University, the Department of Mobility and Public Works, and the knowledge center Fietsberaad Vlaanderen.

    Financial support from the Flemish government

    Financial backing from the Flemish government has facilitated the establishment of the Bicycle Chair, situated within the Geography department of Ghent University’s Faculty of Science. The chair, set for a three-year tenure, comprises the appointment of a part-time visiting professor and a half-time scientific employee. The initiative receives a subsidy of a maximum €249,999 from the Flemish government to sustain its operations and cover the wage costs of employees.

    What is a chair?

    Companies, organizations, or individuals that want to finance scientific research or education on specific themes can do so through a chair. It is a form of collaboration with the university on new developments in domains that are important to society.

  2. Newly-sold passenger vehicles are getting one centimetre wider every 2 years

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    Unchecked, expanding car sizes are becoming too wide for standard street parking

    In a recent revelation, Transport & Environment’s (T&E) research exposes a concerning trend in the automotive industry: new cars in Europe are widening by 1 cm every two years. The primary driver behind this expansion is the soaring popularity of SUVs. The widening trend poses a significant challenge to urban spaces, with over 50% of new vehicles becoming too wide for standard on-street parking.

    As of the first half of 2023, the average width of new cars reached 180.3 cm, a noticeable increase from 177.8 cm in 2018. T&E warns that without legislative intervention, this trend is poised to persist, as current regulations allow new cars to match the width of trucks. The consequences are evident in major cities like London, Paris, and Rome, where 52% of the top 100 car models sold in 2023 exceeded the minimum specified on-street parking space of 180 cm.

    Large luxury SUVs, in particular, showcase remarkable growth, with the Land Rover Defender expanding by 20.6 cm in six years and the Mercedes X5 by 6 cm. This widening phenomenon not only reduces road space for other vehicles and cyclists but also endangers pedestrians. Crash data reveals a 30% higher risk of fatalities in collisions involving vehicles with increased height.

    Recognizing the severity of the issue, several European cities have already implemented stricter parking rules for SUVs. Paris is taking a pioneering step by proposing a referendum to triple parking fees for heavy cars, with a recent poll indicating strong support from around two-thirds of Parisians.

    T&E advocates for a comprehensive approach to address this challenge. They call for a review of the maximum width of new cars by EU lawmakers during upcoming legislative updates. Additionally, city authorities are urged to implement parking charges and tolls based on vehicle size and weight, ensuring that larger vehicles contribute more for utilizing valuable urban space.

    The widening of cars may seem like a subtle shift, but its impact on urban life is substantial. As Parisians prepare to vote on February 4th, they have a unique opportunity to set a precedent that could influence other European cities to prioritize pedestrian safety, reduce congestion, and create more sustainable urban environments. The call for legislative action is clear – it’s time to curb the widening of cars and preserve our urban spaces for the benefit of all citizens.

  3. Brabant incentive program has a positive effect on e-bike use

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    Source: Fietsberaad

    A study on the Brabant bicycle incentive program, B-riders, revealed that 70% of participants cycled to work on an e-bike as many or more days as planned during the initial six months.

    The B-riders program ran between 2013 to 2018, aiming to encourage North Brabanders to switch from cars to e-bikes. Researchers at Utrecht University and TU Delft conducted the study into the participants’ behavioral changes. Participants, who were required to purchase e-bikes and not own one beforehand, received monetary incentives based on kilometres cycled during rush hours. The program, costing one million euros, successfully prevented over a million car journeys during peak times.


    In the first month, 51% of participants followed their intended commuting frequency, with 8% cycling more and the rest less. Notably, 47% of former car commuters and 55% of multimodal travellers cycled as planned, highlighting motorists’ underestimation of cycling days. Over the subsequent six months, 50% cycled as intended, 21% exceeded their plans, and 29% cycled less. Remarkably, 68% maintained their initial intentions, with 83% of those planning 4 to 5 cycling days per week sticking to their goals.


    The study found that factors like attitude towards cycling and goal feasibility had limited influence on participants. Financial rewards and the Netherlands’ cycling-friendly environment may have played a role. However, with all participants already positive towards e-bikes and having registered to take part in the program, the question of motivating less enthusiastic individuals to cycle more remains unanswered.


    The B-riders program surveyed participants three times, with 547 fully completing questionnaires. Published in the Journal of Cycling and Micromobility Research in December, the study concludes that the e-bike holds potential for substituting cars in commuting.

  4. Research assesses physical activity levels of bike, e-bike and e-scooter trips

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    A study published in the Journal of Transport and Health reveals micromobility patterns in the city of Barcelona, Spain, by assessing physical activity levels associated with bike, e-bike and e-scooter usage.

    Conventional bikes and e-bikes are the most active transport mode for health benefits.

    To examine the physical activity and health benefits for each travel mode, researchers Bretones, Miralles-Guasch, and Marquet, measured the amount of energy used by riders as METs (Metabolic Equivalents of Tasks). Findings showed that energy conversion with all micromobility modes was 2.47 and 2.65 METs (under specified real time and traffic related conditions, respectively).

    Out of all vehicle modes, E-scooters received the lowest energy conversion, with 2.20 METs on average, with researchers recognising the physical activity level required for it as being similar to that of automobile trips. Results also revealed that a minute of riding a conventional bike achieves 28% more physical activity than that of riding an e-scooter, with a difference of only 1.4% between electric scooters and e-bikes.

    In terms of distribution for physical activity, the study states that e-scooter usage patterns showed intermittent peaks of physical activity with extended sedentary periods, while e-bikes and bicycles had a more even distribution, with more intense bursts of exercises during these trips.

    The results revealed non-electric, conventional bikes as having the highest energy expenditure, with researchers highlighting both conventional and electric bikes as being key transport modes to help improve public health benefits through physical activity.

    Vehicle usage in distance and location context

    E-scooter trips covered shorter distances (1.96 km) compared to the mean distance covered by other modes of micromobility (2.28 km). The article does acknowledge that e-scooters can be a great transport replacement for more sedentary travel, such as private vehicles, and recognises that in the context of dense and compact cities like Barcelona, the short journeys that e-scooters tend to cover are often already undertaken by walking or biking.

    The researchers indicate that this study can be a useful source to help improve public health policy, and suggests that e-scooter and bike sharing should be further promoted to replace car usage, thus helping to maximize health benefits for citizens.

  5. Dutch research forecasts substantial increase in e-bike travel by 2028

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    Source: CROW-Fietsberaad

    Figures published in the biennial Mobility Assessment, drawn up by the Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy (KiM) in the Netherlands, indicate a significant rise in e-bike kilometers travelled

    In the Mobility Assessment 2023, published on November 14th, KiM analyzes the Netherlands’ mobility figures over the past ten years, and forecasts the development of mobility in the next five years. The bicycle – both traditional and electric – is one of the mobility types assessed in the passenger mobility section. The report categorises the data into several groups, with key findings summarised below.

    Kilometers travelled
    The number of bicycle kilometers recorded for 2022 is 17.9 billion, representing travel of approximately 1,050 km per person by bicycle, of which approximately 400 km was by e-bike. The distance travelled on regular bicycles has increased by 4 percent since 2021 and on e-bikes by 29 percent.

    Numbers of trips
    Since 2012, the total share of bicycles in the number of trips has remained the same at 27 percent, but the share of e-bikes has grown from 1 to 7 percent, while that of regular bicycles has fallen from 26 to 20. There were fewer individual trips in 2022 than in 2019, but the distance per trip is greater. The data shows that in 2022, an average e-bike ride was 5.6 kilometers long, and 3.2 kilometers on a regular bicycle. An average ride to education with an e-bike was 7.4 km compared to 2.9 km for the regular bicycle.

    Younger e-bike riders
    The increase in e-bike riders to education is reflected in the age demographic data. In the 12-24-year-old age bracket, e-bike riders have almost tripled since 2019. Older people also contribute to the cycling-kilometer count; those 60 and over cover more than half of their distance on e-bikes.

    Leisure time
    Overall, Dutch cyclists cover the most distance for leisure activities. The e-bike is used relatively more often for commuting, shopping and other journeys.

    Forecasts for the future
    For 2023, KiM expects the data to show that the total number of bicycle kilometers will be 7.5 percent higher than in 2019, and will be twenty percent higher in 2028. The growth is mainly due to e-bikes: the number of bicycle kilometers is expected to more than double by 132 percent compared to 2019. The use of the regular bicycle is expected to decrease by 15 percent and, thanks to the increased uptake of the e-bike, KiM expects that the use of regular bicycles will never again exceed the level of 2019.

  6. E-bike owners often leave their bicycles at home for fear of theft

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    Source: Fietsberaad Crow

    Almost one-third of ANWB members who own an e-bike occasionally opted not to ride it due to theft concerns in 2023. This is twice the rate of non-electric bike owners. This insight stems from ANWB’s study involving over 1,400 members.

    The number of electric bike users among ANWB members has increased significantly in recent years. Over the past decade, there has been a nearly fivefold increase in e-bike ownership, from 9 percent in 2013 to 42 percent in 2023. Presently, the use of electric bikes (42 percent) nearly equals that of conventional bikes (46 percent).

    Fear of theft

    The surge in e-bike ownership is accompanies by a heightened apprehension about theft among riders. In 2018, 21 percent of respondents refrained from using their bike once to several times a month due to security concerns, this increased to 29 percent in 2023. Notably, over 30 percent of e-bike owners report leaving their bikes at home in 2023 due to theft fears, compared to 16 percent of regular bike owners. The primary reasons for abstaining from riding include heavy traffic at destinations and insufficient secure parking options. These issues are mentioned more frequently by e-bike owners than from ANWB members with a regular bike.

    Loss due to theft

    The risk of financial loss due to theft is also greater for e-bike owners, with 70 percent experiencing such losses compared to 62% among regular bike owners. Given the higher purchase cost of electric bikes (averaging €2,237 versus €750 for non-electric bikes), 69% of e-bike owners opt for insurance, compared to 22% among non-electric bike owners. Interestingly, emotional attachment to bikes appears stronger among regular bike owners, with 37% reporting to dread the emotional loss compared to 24% of e-cyclists.

    Safe Storage

    E-bike owners demonstrate a stronger inclination towards anti-theft measures than regular bike owners, securing their bikes significantly more often (71 percent versus 53 percent), employing 2 or more locks (67 percent versus 39 percent), and utilizing monitored bicycle sheds (49 percent versus 35 percent). Additionally, e-bikers are more likely to own connected bikes equipped with GPS tracking.

    Undesirable development

    According to the ANWB, the escalating fear of theft concerning, especially at a time when cycling on an e-bike is on the rise. The group advocates for safer bicycle storage options, advising cyclists to double lock their bikes and detach the battery when stored at home.


    This study marks the third time ANWB has investigated the impact of bicycle theft on usage, maintaining consistency in survey questions across 2013, 2018, and 2023 for comparative analysis.

  7. fka and TRL announce Webinar for new Personal Mobility Devices Study on behalf of European Commission

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    Regulation 168/2013 on the approval and market surveillance of 2- or 3-wheel vehicles and quadricycles is the core of technical legislation and categorization of light electric vehicles (LEVs). These are either included in the scope of the legislation. That is for instance the case for electric cargocycles with more than 250W or for speed pedelecs. Or, they come under one of the exclusions listed in Article 2.2 of the Regulation. That is for instance the case for EPACs, i.e. electric bikes with pedal assistance up to 250W and 25 km/h, but also for e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, etc.

    If they are excluded from Regulation 168/2013, the vehicles come under the Machinery Directive. This opens the possibility of developing harmonized standards, which offer presumption of conformity. If your vehicle complies with the standard, it is presumed to be in conformity with the Machinery Directive. However, so far, there is only one harmonized standard for LEVs, i.e. EN 15194:2017. The EN 17128:2020 for vehicles without a seat and self-balancing vehicles has not been harmonized, nor will the future standards for e-cargocycles be.

    Two major legal problems

    Current legislation for LEVs poses two major problems. First, the legislation has not been specifically written for LEVs and is therefore not adequate. This results in very serious legal bottlenecks, which obstruct market development. One of the worst affected vehicle categories is L1e-A “Powered Cycles”, i.e. electric cycles with a maximum speed of 25 km/h and maximum 1 kW. As a result, virtually no vehicles have been type-approved in L1e-A

    Second major problem is that inclusion in Regulation 168/2013 results in national rules that are particularly restrictive and hindering, since they have been developed for vehicle concepts, which are quite different from LEVs. The worst example is the categorization of speed pedelecs as mopeds. Consequently, in most member states they are subject to moped terms of use that seriously hinder the use of speed pedelecs, thus the market development.

    Commission acknowledges problems

    Vehicles excluded from Regulation 168/2013 are for their use completely dependant on national rules. Some member states for instance do not allow the use of e-scooters on public roads. On the other hand, all member states have granted EPACs the same status as conventional bicycles, which allowed the market to prosper.

    The European Commission is cognizant of the fact that current European technical legislation causes serious problems for LEVs but so far, failed to do anything to solve those problems. In 2021, the Commission asked TRL to conduct a study into so-called “Personal Mobility Devices” (PMDs). This term covers standing and seated e-scooters, EPACs, L1e-A Powered Cycles, cycles designed to pedal in L1e-B (speed pedelecs), electric cargocycles, self-balancing vehicles, e-hoverboards, e-monowheels and e-skateboards. The study concluded that LEVs would benefit most from their own, separate technical framework, a solution which LEVA-EU has been advocating since its establishment.

    The file remained shelved for two years, but now the Commission has ordered yet another study. fka and
    TRL announced the launch of a study: “on behalf of the European Commission to investigate the methods by which the technical characteristics of micromobility devices could be regulated in the European Union.

    On the 8th of December at 2pm (Central European Time), fka and TRL will hold a webinar which is intended to provide a briefing to the micromobility industry, government representatives, safety charities and other NGOs, and other interested stakeholders on the project and the support that will be required by fka and TRL. LEVA-EU was informed that the term “micromobility” should be interpreted in a broad sense and covers all vehicles, which were subject of the previous study, i.e. e-scooters, self-balancing vehicles, electric cycles and speed pedelecs.

    If you wish to participate you need to register here https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/fkatrl-the-future-of-european-micromobility-technical-regulations-tickets-754655082667?aff=oddtdtcreator The event will be recorded and made available via the TRL website www.trl.co.uk.

    LEVA-EU sincerely hopes that this exercise will go beyond the study and that the research will finally
    inspire the Commission to work on adequate and urgently needed technical regulations for LEVs.

  8. Research analyses over 95 thousand bicycle and pedelec crashes over 9 years

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    Data gathered from police crash reports in Germany reveals minor differences in the makeup of pedelec and bicycle crashes, leading researchers to support generalised road safety improvements over targeting pedelecs.

    Research by Katja Schleinitz and Tibor Petzoldt and published in Journal of Safety Research has shed light on the development of pedelec (electric pedal-assist bicycles) and bicycle crashes from 2013 to 2021. The research, which analyzed data from three federal states, aimed to identify trends and clarify whether these trends were specific to pedelecs.

    The continuous growth in e-bike usage in Germany, with pedelecs supporting pedaling up to 25 km/h, raised questions about the use of historical crash data for road safety measures. The study, which analyzed 95,338 police-reported pedelec and bicycle injury crashes, revealed several important findings.

    While there were some differences between pedelecs and conventional bicycles, many variables showed a high degree of temporal stability. Notably, the mean age of pedelec riders involved in crashes was significantly older than that of conventional cyclists. However, the study also found that the mean age of pedelec riders had decreased over time, becoming eight years younger.

    Single vehicle crashes were consistently more common for pedelec riders than for cyclists, and pedelec rider crashes were associated with higher injury severity throughout the study period, likely due to pedelec riders being older on average. Pedelecs were also more likely than bicycles to experience a crash outside of urban areas, and on weekends. The data also showed similarities in the types of crashes involving both pedelecs and bicycles, with cars being the most frequent collision partners when multiple parties were involved.

    The study revealed a significant increase in the number of pedelec riders involved in crashes over the years, highlighting the growing popularity of pedelecs in Germany. This surge in pedelec ownership and usage challenges the long-term validity of findings regarding pedelec crashes.

    The researchers concluded that, while there are minor differences between pedelec and bicycle crashes, there is no immediate need for road safety measures specifically targeting pedelecs. Instead, the study emphasized the demand for innovative solutions to improve cycling safety in general.

    This comprehensive analysis provides valuable insights into the trends and characteristics of pedelec and bicycle crashes in Germany over a nine-year period. It highlights the need for continued attention to road safety, especially as the popularity of e-bikes, including pedelecs, continues to grow across Europe.

  9. Research highlights preference for proper cycle infrastructure among e-bike and cargo bike users

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    Source: Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives

    Research published in the latest edition of Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives reveals the route preferences of cyclists across different categories of bicycle.

    The research was in part inspired by the growth of cargo and electric bike markets, in this case classed as ‘innovative’ bikes, as well as the numerous environmental and health benefits of cycling and improved cycling infrastructure. Researchers Michael Hardinghaus and Jan Weschke aimed to make better data available in the adoption and kinds of cycle infrastructure projects. The methodology adopted a graphically assisted online discrete choice experiment.

    The different infrastructure needs anticipated by such innovative bikes includes potentially wider track, and consideration of different acceleration behaviour. The authors also identified the lack of past research that specifically compares or differentiates bicycle types. Small sample sizes and inconsistencies in conclusions lead them to state that current research is not sufficient for understanding route choice among these categories.

    The sample set consisted of 687 users, of which 271 were e-bike users, 166 cargo bikes and 250 regular bikes. The majority of the group were males ages 25-54, with more than 70% being daily cyclists. For the route choices, features for cyclists to assess included whether arterial road or side street, presence of bike lane, cycle path, or protected bike lane, maximum speed for cars of 50 km/h or 30 km/h, cycle street (no through traffic, residents only), living street (max. speed cars 7 km/h), cobblestone or asphalt surface, presence of on-street parking, and presence of trees.

    Findings from the survey indicated that individuals who use cargo bikes and e-bikes place a greater emphasis on the quality of infrastructure compared to those who use conventional bicycles. This underscores the need for increased investment in such facilities, given the continued rise in popularity of these bicycle types.

    In terms of statistics, the research found that:

    “Protected bike lanes for example are valued about 20 % higher by cargo bike users and even nearly 40 % higher by e-bike users than by users of regular bike types. In the same way, bike paths, side streets and asphalt as smooth surface are valued between 15 % and 60 % higher by cargo bike users while e-bike users have higher preferences for bike lanes, bike paths, cycle street and side streets in the range between + 20 % and + 60 % compared to regular bike users.”

    The authors concluded that physically separated infrastructures along main streets such as bike paths and protected bike lanes are of major importance, as well as routes through side streets in general and cycle streets with priority for cyclists. It is hoped that the results shall be useful in supporting the design of future-proof bike friendly cities.

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