A gig bike helped to celebrate a more hospitable Christmas in Bergamo and Bilbao

InlcusivEBike is a four wheel ebike made of carbon fiber with a tail robotic ramp capable to carry up to 350kg and equipped with the most advances safety and drive assistance innovation capable to boost the transition toward a new self-driving personalized micro mobility service dedicated to the most vulnerable people  

Running a pilot in December in the North of Italy on a tandem bike carrying frail people seems a crazy idea. Especially, if you consider that the weather forecast was not giving any option except a roaring rain and floods alert. Moreover, mobility restrictions were not over but they were even reinforced due to the second COVID19 wave.

But a city like Bergamo that suffered more than thre thousand victims generated by COVID19 decided not to hesitate and, on the contrary, it was eager to show that is able to stand up and rise again. Moreover Bergamo knows that the only option to reborn is to do it with along the most vulnerable ones. They are aware of that none can be left behind. Thes also know that the receipt to boost the economy of this flourished area again is to start from the innovation devoted to decarbonization and new green spill over ecosystem.

InclusivEbike is a project funded by Urban Mobility Kic, coordinated by TECNALIA research center and led by 4 italian companies such as Bosch Vht, One Less Van, Axiro and AESS.

Thanks to its co-design participatory approach the Municipalities succeeded to involve several key stakeholders (day care centres for people with special needs, disabled parents associations, Red Cross and other frail people dedicated transport company) since its early stage, less then 6 month ago.

“We were very scared by the end users’ feedbacks due to many concerns collected during the consultation about safety, cage design and the limited mileage of the vehicle. It was a nice surprise, though, to realise of the great enthusiasm from Andrea, a 33 years old guy in a wheelchair from birth, who defined this prototype as a buggy bike:  extremely funny, capable to offer a 360° view and a real feeling of cycling never experienced before in his case.”

If we consider that 30% of the EU population will be over 65 years old by 2030, and they will therefore enter that segment of the population that is considered potentially fragile, we must think that solutions for the disabled are not only a necessity of a niche, but represent an important growing market. The results of InclusivEbike are therefore very promising, and this is the first step towards seeing this type of vehicle on our streets rather sooner than later. This will reduce the impact of transport within cities and promote more user-friendly, accessible and sustainable environments”.

In Bilbao, the driving assistance system has been tested extensively on last mile cargo bike as well, and the pilot has been carried out by El Arenal. The Deputy Major and councillor responsible for the Department of Mobility and Sustainability, Alfonso Gil, highlighted the importance of this type of projects to achieve sustainable, healthy and accessible mobility in our cities. “Committing to bicycles as a means of transport, in this case for last mile delivery, and demonstrating that universal accessibility is possible are challenges that we need to tackle and overcome”, he said.

It is then necessary that the Municipalities start re-thinking shared micro-mobility solutions, which might not satisfy only fitting people, but which might allow the experimentation of new solutions that can offer services dedicated to people with reduce mobility for the first time. During the first lockdown, the municipalities were able to show the courage and responsibility to keep their key leading role, in front of those who do not want change, by creating ciclying paths and new services to allow a new type of green transport.

InclusivEbike offers the possibility to authorize new transport services with driver (NCC). Testing this new mobility services could highly contribute to the job market, a huge challenge in the crisis we are going through.