The project “Safe mobility by bike- for a sustainable aging” is finalised

The SAFER associated project ”Safe mobility by bike - for a sustainable aging” (Säker mobilitet på cykel för ett hållbart åldrande SÄMO ) is now finalized. The results show that older people prefer to continue to ride bicycles for increased health, but that the vehicle needs to be adapted in order to feel safe and then continue to use the bicycle for a longer period of time. The study shows that a supplementary electric motor on the bike is appreciated since the bike then can be used for more activities, for example when shopping.

Getting more people to cycle, and make cycling safer, is a suitable measure for sustainable mobility, fully in line with the UN's sustainability goals. In SAFER's associated projects - SÄMO - special attention has been given to how to get older people to maintain their mobility through cycling.

There is a great variety among older cyclists regarding their ability to move about in the transport system. What makes elderly to take the bike is not only the age but also body physics (e.g. muscle strength, mobility and balance) and if the person is used to cycling. The aim of the project was to contribute to increased and safe cycling among elderly. A total of 21 persons (12 women, 9 men) aged 67-81 years (average age 74 years) participated. The participants tested three types of bicycles; a regular women's bicycle, an electric bicycle and an electrically operated tricycle. By conducting a number of different exercises, the participants were able to test and evaluate the function and stability of the bikes at different speeds, for example how easy / difficult it was to get on / off the bikes, keep the balance or to ride with a heavier load.

The 2-wheel electric bicycle and the conventional bicycle were similar from a performance standpoint in all areas examined. The 3-wheeled electric bike received lower ratings. In addition to cycling exercises, participants were interviewed to discuss cycling in general and what barriers exist to increase cycling as well as what is needed to make cycling feel safe. Several of the more accustomed cyclists who were around 80 years of age experienced no problems at all with balance, difficulty getting off and on the bike, or the traffic situation. Others had adapted their cycling by switching to a women's bike, electric bicycle or avoiding cycling in an urban environment.

Everyone agreed that cycling contributes to physical activity and better health. The participants especially appreciated the electric bicycle, as a good complement to driving; with an electric motor it would make it easier to bring food items and other things to / from home.

The project was carried out within the Research area Road user behavior. There were only SAFER partners in the project; Chalmers, Cycleurope, VTI, Trivector and NTF. The financer was Skyltfonden Trafikverket.

Photographer: Anna Swedestam, NTF

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