Test-Pedelecs for Employers
Bicycle Use on Business Trips and on the Way to Work
Since 2010, the regional association of the German Cyclists' Federation stays in cooperation with the Swiss company Biketec. The latter provides the pedelec fleet: 10 "Flyer"-bikes can be hired by the participating employers, every year between April and October. For every new season, the fleet is re-assembled, taking into account the testers feedback. In 2013 a "Flyer-Cargo" delivery bike was available for the first time. The program is promoted by the ADFC, using flyers, website, trade fairs and personal contacts. Furthermore, ADFC members go to the participating companies, bringing, returning, introducing and checking the bikes. For those services, the employers are charged.
The participating companies are free to decide, how they use the pedelecs. Hence, the bikes can serve as a traditional "company fleet" as well as a mean of transport on the workforce's daily commutes. In the past, municipalities provide the pedelecs not only to their stuff, but to borough counsellors and local citizens. At the end of the testing period, an evaluative questionnaire is handed out to the companies. The results become part of annual project reports, including improvement suggestions for the next season.
The participating employers are motivated to organize a cycling event in combination with the testing period, e.g. a "Bike Day" with consultation, bicycle coding, talks and presentations. In the past, participants doing so, offered info desks, bicycle checks, testing tracks, bike tours. Some of them linked their activities to the broad national health campaign "Cycle to work" (organized by a major German health insurance company). However, there were many cases, in which the testing period was implemented without any complementary events.
Some of the employers could be motivated to acquire their own "company pedelecs". This implies a sustainable avoid of car trips. Furthermore, some of the jobholders decided to buy a pedelec for private use. However, for both cases there are no quantifications available yet. In many cases the testing period was complemented by a "Bike Day" but even without special events people working in the participating companies and public administrations started thinking and talking about their mobility habits. Local print media accompanied several participating employers during their tests, especially public authorities. Thereby the project became visible for a broader public.
It is an innovative feature of the project, that employers get ten bikes for a two weeks period. The alternative way of testing via a local bicycle dealer is often free of cost. But there is only one single bike available for one single day.
Through an extended testing period and internal as well as external channels of communication, the project can contribute to a sustainable change of mobility habits, not only within the participating workforces.
Concerning transferability, it has to be taken into account, in which ways the project benefits from the specific conditions under which the ADFC and Biketec cooperate. Nevertheless, other caretakers should be able to develop similar programs. In some cases it could be useful to work with a mixed fleet, coming from different producers.
Biketec provides the pedelecs for the ADFC. The latter promotes and oversees the fleet and takes care of it (transport, introduction, maintenance). The employers renting the bikes pay a contribution for the ADFC's services.
At the end of the testing period a standardized questionnaire is handed out to the participating workforce. Additionally, participants get the opportunity to give their feedback orally. Every year a short evaluation report is written after the testing period.
ADFC Baden-Württemberg, Biketec company
Since 2010 the test fleet is available every year between April and October. After each season there is a decision if the project continues or not.