Older adults want to bike more!
The SAFER project, Safe mobility on bicycles for sustainable aging or "Säker mobilitet på cykel för ett hållbart åldrande" in Swedish, in which Trivector has participated has now been completed. The results show that many older adults who are used to biking want to continue biking, not least for maintaining their good health. The study also shows that a clear traffic environment is especially important for getting older adults to cycle more.
The purpose of the project was to contribute to increased safe biking amongst seniors. A total of 21 people (12 women, 9 men) aged 67-81 years (mean age 74 years) participated. The participants got to test ride three types of bikes: an ordinary women’s bicycle, an electric bicycle, and an electrically operated tricycle.
Electric bikes help with balance
Several of the habitual cyclists who were up to 80 years old did not experience any problems either with balance, difficulties getting on and off the bike, or traffic situations. Others had adapted their cycling by switching to women’s bikes, electric bikes or avoided cycling in urban areas.
“Previous research has shown that seniors have difficulties with manoeuvring, such as with getting on and off and stopping the bike. The participants especially appreciated the electric bike, which helps with balance in the starting moment. Other things that were emphasized in the discussion as important when it comes to the bike itself were good packing and cargo options, preferably in the form of a bicycle basket on the package holder, which gives better balance than the one in front,” says Karin Neergaard who worked on the project from Trivector
A safe traffic environment is especially important
Some of the people who took part in the discussions had completely stopped or adapted their cycling in an urban environment. The increased traffic, including increased bike traffic and high speeds of fellow cyclists were perceived as unsafe.
“In this group, clearer rules and guiding are particularly important. This is also shown in previous research,” says Karin Neergaard.
The study also presents important factors for seniors biking such as clear cycle paths or separated cycle paths, that are smooth and well maintained without gravel, glass, and slippery leaves. Clear separation between pedestrians and cyclists with a white line and well-maintained cycle paths were two things that were particularly emphasized. All participants agree that cycling is good for health and some would have liked to cycle more if the environment were safer.
The project was carried out by five SAFER partners: Chalmers University of Technology, CycleEurope, NTF, Trivector, and VTI, with funding from the Swedish Transport Administration.
The workshop was conducted in Gothenburg, most participants in the study have Gothenburg as a reference framework.
Want to know more about the project? Contact Karin Neergaard, +46 10 456 56 16
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