Viva La Revolution! World (traffic) dominance of the bike and the obstacles to overcome (II)
Biking has never been so popular as today, but it is far from being the first choice for commuters in many cities across the globe.
Why are bikes still not the favorite means of urban transportation?
This question follows the September article on biking and safety.
Three hurdles stand in the way of the World (traffic) dominance of the bike: safety, comfort and freight transport. The question of comfort fits well for a usability analysis. Cycling offers a potpourri of usability issues: the rides can be wet, cold, and messy, and we suffer pinched fingers when locking the bike or dealing with chain and gear issues. The transport of goods, children, or other passengers also hinders convenience or practicality when compared to the car.
“The question of comfort fits well for a usability analysis. Cycling offers a potpourri of usability issues…”
But there is an interesting twist to the story in favor of the bike; whereas the car has a high immediate comfort through privacy and security, it offers many displeasures over the long-term such as high-running costs, maintenance, traffic congestion and parking.
The bicycle is the other way round, offering unbeatable long-term gain, low costs, and fitness, flexibility, temporal predictability, freedom of movement. Not to mention the increase to health and well-being, which in Denmark was estimated to save the Danish health system € 72 million per year (extrapolated per kilometers driven).
There are many new ideas to adopt from one system to the other. For instance, an e-bike purchase could include a premium car-sharing account or reserved parking spaces in bicycle parking garages.
Are immediate and long-term comfort mutually exclusive elements? If trying to unite both existing solutions into one product, certainly. However, a broader approach focussing on the user experience and convenience at the center of the concept may find a much more fruitful result. The solution would not focus only on the product, and not only on the system but on the seamless integration of both systems.
“There are many new ideas to adopt from one system to the other… However, a broader approach focusing on the user experience and convenience at the center of the concept may find a much more fruitful result”
This article is the second part of a two-article series “World (traffic) dominance of the bike and the obstacles to overcome” by Oliver Keller, Creative Director Strategy & Product TEAMS Hamburg.