Monday, November 7, 2011

Cyclists should shift 'safety gear'

According to SWOV, the Dutch Foundation for the Research of Traffic Safety, it’s time for a culture shift: one should by now also confront cyclists with their behavior when they risk their own and other people’s safety. In such cases, not simply everything should be allowed. “Everything is permissible” was the cyclist’s slogan for many years “This created the notion that bicycle lights were superfluous; that it was normal to make a right turn on red; and in one-way streets it was taken for granted that bicycles could ride in the opposite direction. This form of civil disobedience led in the last two cases to the official adoption of these traffic habits. In addition to concern for the infrastructure, more concern for cyclists’ behavior is necessary in the interests of their safety. There has been much research into the effects of automobile driver behavior on traffic safety. The time has come to do the same for cyclists.” The number of cyclist fatalities declines slower than the number of fatalities for other traffic participants; the number of severely injured cyclists grows faster than the same for other groups, according to the SWOV. The SWOV intends to deal with this safety issue through the instigation of the “The National Cycling Research Agenda”. Read more here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

One plug fits all

The European motor industry has agreed on a common system for charging any electric car across Europe. The ACEA, the automobile manufacturers' trade association, wants one type of plug to become standard for all electric cars. The association wants regulators, infrastructure bodies and rivals across the world to adopt the same standard. Currently, several types of charging methods are used and this has resulted in the "fragmentation of the market across Europe and abroad. The main agreement announced by ACEA relates to a standardised plug. Reaching agreement on what sort of plug to use to recharge electric cars might sound easy. Not so. It is not just about agreeing on using the same plug; it is also a matter of how much electricity should be pumped through it, and how fast this should be done. Some electric cars have batteries designed to be charged slowly using ordinary household plugs, others to charge quickly using dedicated fast chargers. Traditionally, carmakers see such differences as competitive advantages that can be used to get a leg-up on the competition. But for once, when it comes to electric motoring, they see eye to eye. Read more here.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sustainable Mobility in Times of Financial Crisis (1)

“Cycling Is the New Golf. Middle-aged men and women have decided that they are better off spending three or four hours on their bike than hitting a little white ball around a fairway.” This comment is made by Humphrey Cobbold, chief executive of Isis Equity Partners; owner of Wiggle in Bike Europe. He considers to float the UK based online bike retailer as cycling increases in popularity. According to a recent article published in the renowned UK newspaper The Guardian; the growing interest in cycling is spurring Wiggle’s growth. The company’s 2010/2011 turnover in the year to 31 January, reached GBP 86.8m (100.9m euro) and more than quadrupled in the last five years. Profits surged 43% to GBP 10.2m (11.9m euro) in 2010/2011. The article in The Guardian notes: “Even without the buzz generated by high-profile wins such as Mark Cavendish's recent triumph in the world championships road race, the sport has a growing amateur fan base with sportives – cycling competitions – popular fixtures. Britons are also queuing up to compete in triathlons, with last month's event in London, which attracted 13,000 entrants, the world's largest.”