1. New Distribution Partner for MAHLE in Iberia: Bike Difusion

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    Electric mobility brand expects new partnership to significantly enhance availability of its product range for Spain, Portugal and Andorra.

    LEVA-EU member MAHLE is pleased to announce Bike Difusion as its new distribution partner for the Iberian region.

    Bike Difusion, based in Vitoria, Spain, will use its leading expertise to significantly optimize MAHLE’s offering, and deliver outstanding distribution for the aftermarket in Spain, Portugal and Andorra. Since its creation, the company’s goal has been to offer quality and innovative products to the cycling market, which perfectly matches the DNA of MAHLE SmartBike Systems.

    The partnership officially begins from April 15th, and is expected to greatly increase the availability of MAHLE accessories and spare parts for customers, including its innovative X20 and X35 Systems, Range Extender, and eShifters.

    The MAHLE team believes Bike Difusion’s extensive sales partner network will help its customers feel much more supported in experiencing their eBike systems and accessories, and will also enable the brand to reach a larger number of cycling enthusiasts.

    MAHLE SmartBike Systems looks forward to an enriching journey as it continues to lead and expand in the e-bike market.

    For more information:

    MAHLE Website: https://mahle-smartbike.com/
    Bike Difusion Website: https://www.bikedifusion.com/

    MAHLE SmartBike Systems

    MAHLE SmartBike Systems is the specialized division for the design and development of drive systems for electric bicycles of the German MAHLE Group, an international leader in sustainable mobility solutions for the present and the future.

    The team, of more than 150 people, is made up of software and hardware engineers, industrial and electronic engineers, quality specialists, 3D designers, creative, production and materials experts and a long list of professionals to which are added another 80 people distributed in the different centers of the group in Spain, Germany, and Asia.

    With Palencia as the headquarters of this great project, MAHLE SmartBike Systems brings together the R&D, Marketing, Operations and Sales activities of MAHLE in the electric bicycle industry.

    MAHLE ultra-light and compact systems, consisting of the motor, batteries, controllers, components, and all types of intelligent solutions for electric bicycles, are integrated and perfectly interconnected with each other to offer the rider a fully customized experience. For all these features, more than 80 brands worldwide, including those whose innovation is revolutionizing the cycling industry, incorporate MAHLE drive systems as the perfect choice in terms of integration, cost and efficiency for electric mobility.

  2. World Record Attempt for Largest Charity Delivery by Cargo Bike Ever

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    Under the leadership of the Belgian TV personality Pedro Elias, the world record for the “Largest Charity Delivery by Cargo Bike” is (hopefully) going to be set on the 20th of April in Antwerp.

    Antwerp residents are called upon to bring their unused or new personal care products (such as skin creams, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, towels, shampoo, etc.) on Saturday 20th of April to the bike shop of Fietsen De Geus in Antwerp.

    From the shop, all cargo bikes will ride in convoy to deliver the items to Kamiano, an organization for the homeless. An official bailiff will register the number of cargo bikes participating, which will be noted as the record attempt. Those without cargo bikes but still wishing to donate products are welcome to ride along or place items in one of the cargo bikes.

    Lieven Jacobs, communication manager of Fietsersbond, praises the charity initiative: “This record attempt is a heartwarming way to bring attention to a very serious issue, namely poverty, in a positive manner.

    Stijn Wens, founder of mobility blog Antwerpenize and cargo bike club Team Bullitt Hangover, adds: “We find it wonderful that the bike, which might just be the most social and fair way to travel, can contribute to reducing societal problems. For this reason, we are happy to support this action.

  3. Dublin to restrict “through” trips by private and commercial vehicles

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    Source: The Irish Times

    Dublin’s councillors have welcomed plans to limit the movement of non-public transport traffic in the city centre, in a move designed to end the dominance of cars using the streets as a through-route, in favour of cycling and walking

    The restrictions on the movement of private cars and commercial vehicles travelling through Dublin city centre are set to be in place by August 2024, according to Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan when the Dublin City Centre Transport Plan was presented to the city council traffic and transport committee in February. Dublin City Council asserts that currently, two out of every three cars using the city streets do not have the centre as their destination, but are instead travelling through.

    The plan includes limiting parts of the city’s north and south quays to public transport only, and introducing restrictions on where traffic can turn. Motorists will still be able to access the city centre’s businesses and car parks, but the plan aims to make through-travel less feasible.

    The plan and its measures have enjoyed broad approval, with a report on public submissions showing more than 80 per cent support for the measures, and positive comments from various city council representatives. Sinn Féin councillor Larry O’Toole said he looked forward to safer cycling and more efficient bus services under the plan: “This will be prove to be a very ambitious but brave development in the city.” Fine Gael councillor Paddy McCartan said, “Dubliners are now saying it’s time to call a halt to the inexorable march of the motor car. We are all familiar with rat runs in housing estates, but in effect what people are doing is using our city streets as a vast rat run to go through the city when they have definite other alternatives.” The committee meeting also heard from Richard Guiney, chief executive of business organisation DublinTown, who said the reaction from the business community was “overall positive”.

    Speaking at an event to publicise the allocation of €290 million in “active travel” funding for walking and cycling across the State, Mr Ryan described the positive effect the Dublin traffic plan would have: “People will see a transformation this August when we take the through traffic out of the city centre. That is going to make a huge change in Dublin. We will see a tipping point where we will see a large increase in cycling and walking as a mainstream form of transport for our city.”

    As well as the Dublin traffic plan, the Statewide Active Travel Investment Programme for 2024 is set to fund around 800 new and existing projects. Included are the Fairview to Amiens Street Cycle Route in Dublin, the Marina Promenade Pedestrian and Cycle Facilities in Cork, the Father Russell Road Cycle Scheme in Limerick, the Waterford Sustainable Transport Bridge, the Ballaghaderreen Town Development in Co Roscommon, and the One-Way Active Travel scheme in Donegal Town.

  4. POLIS 24 calls for speakers and sponsors

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    Billed as Europe’s leading sustainable urban mobility event, the conference provides an opportunity for cities and regions and other stakeholders to showcase their transport achievements

    POLIS, the leading European network of cities and regions dedicated to advancing innovative technologies and policies for local transport, has issued a call for dynamic speakers and sponsors to participate in the Annual POLIS Conference 2024. Scheduled for November 27 and 28, the event will take place in Karlsruhe, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and will focus on fostering innovation and celebrating achievements in the realm of urban mobility.

    The Call for Speakers is officially open, welcoming submissions until April 26, 2024. With a spotlight on 43 diverse priority topics related to urban mobility, the conference invites speakers to share insights, results, and lessons learned from their mobility initiatives. From technical parallel sessions to interactive workshops and discussions, the platform aims to explore and showcase innovative solutions within each chosen topic.

    Abstract submissions must emphasize the innovative dimension of proposed solutions within the selected topic. Successful speakers will be notified in June 2024, just ahead of the release of the draft Conference program and the commencement of registrations.

    In addition to the Call for Speakers, POLIS encourages companies, organizations, and initiatives to enhance their visibility through 13 available Sponsorship and Exhibition packages. The Call for Sponsors and Exhibitors is now open, and interested parties can download the Sponsorship form to apply. For customized sponsorship and exhibition packages, individuals can contact Alexia Collignon at acollignon@polisnetwork.eu and Julie Lucca at jlucca@polisnetwork.eu.

    The conference offers a platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange among European local and regional authorities, industry players, research centres, universities, and NGOs. Since its establishment in 1989, POLIS has been a driving force in promoting sustainable mobility by deploying innovative transport solutions. The network facilitates partnerships and collaboration throughout Europe, aiding its members in accessing European research and innovation funding and results.

    Interested speakers may submit their abstract here.

  5. More Belgian employees choose to cycle to and from work

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    On the 11th of January 2024 HR services company Acerta published the results of their quarterly Mobility Barometer surveying the commuting habits of 330,000 employees in Belgium. This survey reveals a notable shift in the way of commuting:  the car is losing ground to bicycles. 35.8% of employees occasionally cycle to work. Interestingly, the average commuting distance in Belgium has risen by half a kilometer in just one year, now surpassing 20 kilometers.

    While 23% of Belgian white-collar workers still possess a company car, the car is no longer the sole means of transportation for employees. According to Acerta’s Mobility Barometer, reliance on cars for commuting has decreased from 78.4% in 2021 to 77.9% in 2022. The bicycle is gaining ground, reaching a 35.8% share, and public transportation is also making strides, now utilized by 8.3% of employees, compared to 7.8% in 2021.

    Charlotte Thijs, Acerta’s mobility expert, comments, “There has been a growing awareness regarding transportation choices. Factors such as increasing environmental consciousness, a diverse range of transport options, the boosted image of (electric) bicycles, and recent spikes in fuel prices are influencing employees not to automatically choose cars, indicating a potential decline in the decades-long dominance of automobiles.”

    The most popular combination is that of a car and bicycle, with 19% opting for this mode. Additionally, 15% exclusively choose bicycles. Public transportation users mostly don’t combine it with other modes (5.8%), or if they do, it’s with bicycles (1.2%).

    Charlotte Thijs adds, “The sustained popularity of bicycles in commuting doesn’t come as a surprise. We observe more employers offering bike leases, and there’s an increase in individuals receiving bicycle allowances. Public transportation seems to benefit from various trends, and with more flexible subscription systems catering to remote work, further gains are possible.”

    Source:The data collected are based on a sample of actual salary data from employees working for more than 40,000 employers in the private sector, including both SMEs and large enterprises. The data were collected through the ACERTA Mobility Barometer between 2021 and 2022, providing a representative depiction of the Belgian employee population in the private sector. ACERTA conducts measurements quarterly, and this marks the seventh edition of the study.

  6. POLIS publishes new report on shared micromobility

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    Source: EU Urban Mobility Observatory

    The new report, “Catch me if you can!”, analyses how European cities are regulating shared mobility

    POLIS, the network for European cities and regions to work together in developing innovative technologies and policies for local transport, has undertaken extensive research with stakeholders to gather their insights on the key issues and challenges that have emerged with the rise of shared micromobility. Those consulted include individual cities, public practitioners and private operators.

    For local and regional authorities, shared micromobility represents a complex governance challenge, where many aspects – sustainability, safety, innovation, regulation and more – must be balanced.

    Some might argue that regulation should be a prerequisite for the deployment of shared micromobility services and schemes. However, the reality is that mobility services have often been put in place before adequate regulation has been established. Most local and regional authorities have found themselves having to regulate services which were already in use, and without clarity about how to achieve this.

    The POLIS report explores: 

    • How local and regional authorities are regulating shared mobility.
    • What has and has not worked, and learnings from these experiences.
    • The differences and similarities between cities.
    • Potential future strategies for both public authorities and private operators.

    In the face of rapid change and increased public demand, local and regional governments have based their regulations on local context and with use of the tools available. Critical aspects within authorities’ jurisdiction include issues such as urban space allocation, vehicle requirements, and user behaviour. The primary challenge is that of introducing newer modes of transport such as shared micromobility into pre-existing infrastructure that is primarily shaped around private cars.

    For the future, it is important to balance the regulation of new transport modes with the possible changes around the traditional monopoly of private cars. Climate neutrality goals demand a shift away from the conventional ways urban transport has been organised, and it is more and more relevant to explore strategies for incorporating shared mobility and other transport modes into urban mobility ecosystems. The role of policy and regulations is to build effective frameworks for including new transport modes into the mobility mix. Transport planners must also consider topics such as redistributing space in favour of more sustainable, safe and health-promoting transport means.

    The POLIS report can be read here.

  7. 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.

  8. LEVA-EU Seeks Consortium Partnership in Horizon Project Light Commercial Vehicles

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    On 7 December, the Horizon call “New designs, shapes, functionalities of Light Commercial Vehicles (2Zero Partnership)” will be launched, with a proposal deadline set for 18 April 2024.

    Horizon Europe is the EU’s research and innovation funding programme until 2027 with a budget of € 95.5 billion. It’s aimed at tackling climate change, helping to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and boosting the EU’s competitiveness and growth.

    The primary aim of this Horizon call relating to Light Commercial Vehicles is to develop innovative, zero-emission light commercial vehicles optimized for urban environments, focusing on affordable, safe, sustainable, and reliable goods transport. The initiative emphasizes active engagement from freight services users and fleet owners in defining requirements and testing. The core focus is on identifying and overcoming key barriers to the advancement of new concepts for urban and sub-urban logistics and freight mobility.

    LEVA-EU expresses keen interest in participating as a partner within this framework. Leveraging its extensive knowledge of technical legislation for L-category vehicles and electric cargo cycles, LEVA-EU also possesses a deep understanding of legal challenges hindering the development of sustainable light commercial vehicles. Furthermore, the organization is very active in European and international standardization. Also, LEVA-EU is well-connected within the LEV community, offering valuable networking resources to any project. LEVA-EU is poised to play a significant role in dissemination and communication efforts.

    Consequently, any consortium planning a project related to L-category electric vehicles and/or electric cargo cycles is encouraged to reach out to LEVA-EU Manager Annick Roetynck to explore potential collaboration opportunities: annick@leva-eu.com, tel. +32 475 500 588.

  9. Stromer riders achieve 100 million kilometer milestone in 2023

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    Source: myStromer AG

    Speed pedelec manufacturer, Stromer has applauded its riders for riding a milestone of 100 million kilometers in 2023, averaging more than 300,000 kilometers per day since January 1st.

    The brand has put the milestone into perspective, by describing it as the equivalent of circumnavigating the Earth around 2,500 times, demonstrating the commitment of its riders to sustainable, electric mobility.                                                                                    

    Stromer states its e-bikes as a powerful and eco-friendly alternative to the car, and with this also posted its riders have managed to save 19,100 tons of CO2 by using its rides.

    Stromer announced this milestone as another testament to its successful 2023, with the Swiss organization looking forward to another year of providing electric bikes to customers through its 140 employees, and distribution in Europe, North America, Asia and Oceania.

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