28th February 2022
The Spokesmen Cycling Podcast
EPISODE 293: Beacons with Kevin Mayne
SPONSOR: Jenson USA
HOST: Carlton Reid
GUEST: Kevin Mayne, Chief Executive, Cycling Industries Europe
TOPICS: 40 minutes or so with Brussels-based Kevin Mayne the Chief Executive of Cycling Industries Europe, the bike industry advocacy group. We talked beacons. You know, the detection or connection tech I’ve been banging on about since 2018, and which potentially has ethical and safety ramifications for all forms of cycling, and just getting about as a pedestrian for that matter. Kevin puts my mind at rest, at least from an advisory groups point of view. I’m still not too sure the bike industry is fully cognisant of the concerns myself and others have got but hopefully the industry’s enthusiasm for the latest tech will be the tempered by those who have the interests of ALL cyclists at heart, not just those who can afford to sport detection tech.
Previous episodes on beacons:
2018: Historian Peter Norton – author of “Fighting Traffic” – discusses the historical, ethical and mobility-centre issues that such a call raises.
2018: Roger Geffen of Cycling UK
Chris Star of Australia’s 3CR community radio station
Technology writer Max Glaskin
Lloyd Alter of Treehugger.com
Caspar Hughes of Stop Killing Cyclists.
2020: Cyclist Detection Tech With Tome Software CEO Jake Sigal And History of Road Equity With Historian Peter Norton
Carlton Reid 0:14
Welcome to Episode 293 of the spokesmen cycling podcast. This show was engineered on 28th February 2022.
David Bernstein 0:25
The spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast is brought to you by Jenson USA, Jenson USA, where you will find a great selection of products at unbeatable prices with unparalleled customer service. Check them out at Jensonusa.com/thespokesmen. Hey everybody, it’s David from the Fredcast. And of course, I’m one of the hosts and producers of The spokesmen cycling roundtable podcast since 2006. For shownotes links and other information, check out our website at www.the-spokesmen.com. And now, here’s my fellow host and producer Carlton Reid and the spokesmen.
Carlton Reid 1:11
Thanks, David, and welcome to the show, which is 40 minutes or so with Brussels based Kevin Mayne, the chief executive of Cycling Industries Europe, the bike industry advocacy group. Wwe talked beacons, you know, that detection or connection tech, I’ve been banging on aoutt since 2018. And which potentially has ethical and safety ramifications for all forms of cycling, and just getting about as pedestrian for that matter. Kevin does put my mind at rest, at least from an advisory group’s point of view, I’m still not too sure the bike industry is fully cognizant of the concerns myself and others have got but hopefully, the industry enthusiasm for the latest tech – which I sometimes share – will be tempered by those who have the interests of ALL cyclists at heart and not just those who can afford to sport detection tech. Not everybody’s got an iPhone, or can stump up for helmets or bikes or whatever else that now or in the very near future may broadcast positional info, so you don’t get squished by inattentive motorists. This is now the fourth podcast I’ve devoted to this underreported topic, go check out the others, including with transport historian Peter Norton. And Tome Software’s Jake Seagal. I’ll link to those previous episodes in the show notes at the -spokesmen.com. But here’s Kevin Mayne, he starts out by explaining why he reached out to me.
Kevin Mayne 3:01
I reached out because I’ve seen all the chat and social media. And I’ve seen some of your own commentary. And I’ve seen a kind of narrative developing that everything around kind of beacons on bikes feels negative, and almost feels as if certain people in the bicycle industry have been somehow selling out some advocacy and safety values. And that deeply disturbed me. Because not not too much beacons on bikes, but the general and broad principles of connected bike the many things we can do with connected by including connecting to other vehicles, but also infrastructure and and to each other things that I’ve been battling to get on the cycling agenda for six or seven years now. And see many many positives. But I also see that as being in the room, when the sort of automated and connected vehicles conversations happen, is the biggest safety net our industry and our community could possibly have. Because certainly from the European work and a bit from the kind of us work I see this is happening in a kind of research bubble. Policymakers are desperately relying on kind of research and proof of concept and case. And just to give an example, I mean, the US last budget for this space was 162 million euros. And at the start of this programme, there wasn’t a single vote, cyclists voice in that conversation. And if that bubble develops its own narrative on what’s needed for cycling to be safe. Or in their terminology, vulnerable road users, which is a term that I hate, then we are at great, great risk. So my concern and I reached out to you because I know you’re one of the people that’s got to report it on this is to say it Just think we’ve got the tone wrong on this. And I think we need to balance our concerns with also what the opportunity is.
Carlton Reid 5:09
I understand that, and I understand absolutely the logic of feet under the table, just the fact that you’re in the same room where it’s happening, kind of thing. Totally understandable. But using that same logic, you’re you’re around the conference table with all these automotive concerns with the big pot of cash. That’s also one side of the table. Could not the cyclists voice at that table? Eventually say, Yeah, we’re here. We are in the same room with you at the same table. But we don’t think this will work. And here are the reasons why. So you’re at the table you’re being listened to. But you actually say, Yeah, but guys ain’t gonna work.
Kevin Mayne 5:57
Yeah, I mean, we, we run the risk of being an irritating kind of mosquito in that room. And that we are the voice of doubt. But if you take the other approach regard this as kind of, I know, we need a kind of code on sanitaire where we don’t touch this stuff, then we’re not even the mosquito. And the key thing about properly structured research is that the voices in the room have a certain degree of equality. It isn’t just the ones who bring the big bucks. But there is a need even to be in that room to kind of be willing to say, look, we’re we’re having a technology discussion. And what I found in the past was, you know, the conversation would go along those lines. Yeah, yeah, there’s a role vulnerable road users, we don’t want to run you over. But this is a tech session. What have you got? What can you bring? And what is your kind of technological agenda. And we might agree that our technological agenda is to make sure that nothing really really dumb happens. But we do need a passport. And in reality, there are some good things happening on kind of connected bike and connected tech, that are not all about beacons on bikes and some potential mandatory thing further on downstream. We’re in a fantastic project called the bicycles 90 s project, with OTS standing for intelligent transport systems. And for example, we’re looking at a lot of passive systems in the Netherlands and Denmark, where, you know, what historically would have been a bicycle counter, could now be a bicycle trigger. So as you approach the traffic lights, the traffic lights, no, there’s a cyclist, great in the Netherlands, Denmark, Flanders, okay, if you’ve got brilliant bike lanes and those kinds of facts, but there are potential future applications of those things on camera detection, a lot of very, very good artificial intelligence, Nova and develop that can clearly identify a cyclist from background traffic. And we can, we can bring a lot of that content to play. Without a lot of the kind of what I will call the red lines, we will not Crus around mandatary beacons, or you weren’t in the right place. We can also use an awful lot of detection and data and connected bike to improve the quality of infrastructure. And, you know, the infrastructure is going to be fundamental to the automated cars as well. Because basically the text not going to work. So there is there will be a battle for certain pieces of infrastructure maybe to be dedicated, or to be automated or to contain certain loops, or even have restrictions on them. And so we have to be part of the infrastructure conversation. Currently, the infrastructure conversation is going on away, because urban access restrictions are actually not saying bring automated cars, they’re saying bring no cars. Hmm. And someone has to bring that conversation into the room as well going wait a minute, we just talked to 100 cities 100 cities want less cars, they don’t want automated cars. And so we have to be that foil. And the big difference to where we were perhaps five years ago is you know, our industry is currently pretty hot in terms of policymaking, both in the US but particularly in Europe. We have access like we’ve never had before. And that puts us in a lot of platforms where we’ve never been before. Not you know we don’t have a quality with the car industry but we’ve we’ve moved an awful long way.
Carlton Reid 9:49
Kevin who’s we?
Kevin Mayne 9:52
I mean, first off, you know the association’s carry that voice but what we you know what we read present for the first time, maybe in 200 years, is we represent happening technologies that are regarded as extraordinarily useful. Step one, the E bike, very popular, a lot less intrusive than the E car cheaper, more accessible, and you know, outselling the cars by multiples of 10 to one in some countries, etc. We have the cargo bike. Now that logistics future of Europe is a complete and utter mess. If we don’t shift freight from its current structure, cities can’t take the trucks. There is not an EU policy document on urban mobility in the last five or six years, there hasn’t been a reference to cargo bikes. So and cities, as cities bring in urban access controls to solve safety, air quality congestion, those issues. The bikes are the vehicles that slip through the net.
Carlton Reid 11:01
What are pedestrian organisations? Do they have a seat at this table?
Kevin Mayne 11:07
Not that I can see. And I think that worries me a lot. But but they’re even perhaps worse than we were a few years ago, where if you ask the question, what tech Have you got? You know, there isn’t a product development process there that acts as a passport. And I think certainly I feel a very strong moral obligation to kind of represent, you know, the non motorised. I hate the phrase railroad users What the How to be, to some extent the voice of the others.
Carlton Reid 11:39
Isn’t that potentially a good reason why pedestrians aren’t there, because we’re all pedestrians, very often not seen as a user group in their own right, even though there are of course, pedestrian associations that that do lobby for these kind of thing. But might might the pedestrian element not be there, I’m gonna ask them this, but out of choice, and that they don’t want to be there for the reasons of that I might be quite cynical.
Kevin Mayne 12:08
Yeah. And possibly, I mean, I haven’t chatted to people. I was 21 about this recently, because I’ve been, you know, to some extent managing our own agenda. But there is equally I think, in some sectors, there has been a sense of almost where, again, parts of our sector where they’re going, this is nasty, it’s corporatism, you know, might we be selling out if we enter those routes? And, you know, I respect those views. My own view from cycling point of view is, that’s not the best choice for us. But we have to respect that to a certain extent.
Carlton Reid 12:46
So I cannot I do absolutely understand that if you’re not in the the room where the decisions are made, where the decisions that then get passed on to the policymakers, and they get rubber stamped, then you just don’t exist, you know, you do not exist as an entity. Yep. And pedestrians absolutely have long fallen down on that and similar extent, but to a lesser extent, cyclists, also. So I do understand that. But do you also not appreciate that? Yeah, I understand your talk about E bikes, and cargo bikes, etc. These are expensive products. Whereas the simplicity of being a pedestrian, the simplicity of being a cyclist on an incredibly simple, cheap machine is you don’t need that tech, you don’t have to have your phone connected. So you can see the speed on your, you know, your your, your lovely $2,000 machine, etc, etc, etc. So it’s the very simplicity yes, that might be a problem, but it’s also an absolute beauty of the simplicity.
Kevin Mayne 13:55
And, you know, the key point is the mature advocates and we have to, we have to bring the best of it. You know, these are tough environments. We have to bring the best and most professional of our community into some of these spaces to get maximum impact. You know, people are good speakers who have good knowledge, good knowledge of the data and the arguments. But in bringing those people in the room, they speak for our whole community. You know, I sit in some of these sessions wearing the bicycle industry badge. But I have talked this all through with our colleagues at European cyclists Federation where I used to work I have my own roots in cycling UK are never going to let that go. If we start sending people who are so in love with the tech they forget where we are, then we have Yes, we are a risk to our own community. And we’ve agreed amongst us and also including canopy others. There are some red lines that we all share. Not all companies share that they may want to sell the tech and they have great ambition and they see customers but as representatives of our sector, we’re very clear, no additional obligations. So no obligation to carry a mobile phone obligation to be chipped. And we have an absolute killer argument, which is children. We’re not like drivers in cars where you would let you, you know, any parent who has ever tried to stay in touch with their teenager via mobile phone, and knows how many times that’s not possible because of battery, I turned it off, I dropped it in the palm data that knows that this tech is not reliable in the hands of children. So
Carlton Reid 15:38
forget five year olds cycling on public roads, and obviously not four year olds three years.
Kevin Mayne 15:43
We’re not going to chip children or pets or animals in order to allow the car the cars to drive all over us.
Carlton Reid 15:52
So these are these red lines, I guess stems as though we are talking on pretty much on the same wavelength. And my red lines,
Kevin Mayne 16:00
no, but I mean, I’ve got two others I’ll share with you. Second one is location. I mean, a lot of automated driving other techniques will have a sense of it, it’ll work perfectly if you’re all in the right place. We know 101 reasons why a cyclist may not be in the right place. And the big red flag of race was when there was a tech one of the early Tesla deaths in the States. And the police report said the woman was not crossing the road at an approved crossing point. And anybody who’s sensitive to this throws their hands up and goes no, no, that’s that’s absolutely right. We were not going to recreate the circumstances under which jaywalking came into existence to support car safety. And there are many reasons why are even more so in countries with poor infrastructure, why the cyclist might not be in a convenient by blame. And the third thing we will not accept is any obligation to retrofit you know, there are multi millions of bikes in the system now that are never ever, ever going to be tech and I think use brushed it well and emotionally about the kind of love of cycling. But it’s it’s also the love and simplicity of that equipment. So where we’re, we’re absolutely in line with the concerns we think. And we see other people like League of American wheelman have done some publications around their own sort of red guidance on what’s acceptable and what isn’t. And I think it is better that we step up and tell the world very, very broadly what we can and can’t accept. So the red lines
Carlton Reid 17:40
that we we we talked about, and it sounds as though we kind of agree on do not risk going into the room going and getting your feet under the table. And then you’re accused of being you know, the 1930s phrase of cyclists being prima donnas, and disparaged. Because official cycling officialdom is seen as not to be terribly helpful.
Kevin Mayne 18:10
Yeah. I mean, I think we were, I mean, we move on, we’re, we’re not walking around rooms, we’ve been invited into making posturing speeches, were in there, and others are in there, and colleagues and colleagues in the US are in the opportunity to be in research environments, where you are there, but you have a you know, if you’re good at your job, you have a sensitivity and a subtleness and ability to get your points on the table. But you’ve always got escalation. So now I can always walk out of a research process or take my team out and go to people at the European Commission, Drug Safety Unit or other areas and go look I’m sorry, I have to whistle blow. What is happening in here is unacceptable. And that was when maybe we always have to have a nuclear option where you really are not a good player. Right now we’re nowhere near that. Right now. We are in conversations where to be brutally honest, say on automated driving, that the technology and the programmes are. Some are let loose under very poor regulatory regime in the States. But in Europe, they’re at baby steps. And, you know, we’re more able to say things like, you know, what, you Yeah, intelligence speed adaption so that people don’t speed is acceptable to everyone. Now you have the technology now. We could save X 1000 lives a year now. We’re quite keen on those parts of your technology. When can we have them? And you know, there is a almost a very, very experienced road safety expert quietly whispered in my ear after I said, you’re bound but this is schizophrenic You know, you have people sitting on one side of the room on behalf of major motoring companies saying, AV AV need the research, this is going to be kind of game changing. And when when they’re asked, Well, why don’t you release kind of level one, level two, now, the marketing head comes on and goes, is not ready yet. And there is of the parts of that industry is absolutely tying itself in knots. And there’s very, very little evidence that that technology is ready to be released into the wild, even in terms of very controlled pilots. So you know, we’ve got a long period ahead of us 10 years plus maybe 15, where we could be inside conversations about what is acceptable and what isn’t, but also challenging the kind of benchmark assumptions, because what happens in these research bubbles is, you know that there’s a drive to get the tech tested. The people from more of a policy background can say, Yeah, but what’s the comparison? Could we for the same amount of money? Could we get mode shift? For the same amount of kind of for less policy implementation? Could we do something on speed limits. And so we can be passed in very mature conversations. And we don’t have to slap people in the face with a kind of set of red lights. And I’m happy with this new record it it goes out there to certain extent, I want to give people confidence, the kind of cycling sector doesn’t need to sell out in order to be part of this conversation. Hmm, we do. I think we, you know, on a beragam, we do know what we’re doing. Naively wandering into this space, this has been a concerted effort by a serious group of people in the lobby space to say, we should be on the inside track of this conversation, not shouting from outside.
Carlton Reid 22:05
So the lobby space, as you intimated earlier, is different to the industry space. And as you intimated, also earlier is the industry wants to sell stuff. If you’re the maker of a very high end bicycle, you kind of got you got a fairly good interest to want to keep that owner alive. And you want to market that tech to that owner. Yeah, yeah, all you know, futuristic tech probably gets sold to very rich people to begin with and classify anybody you can afford a 2000 Euro dollar bicycle, as as intrinsically rich, then you’re going to want to introduce that technology, you’re probably going to want to sidestep, you know, fuddy duddy officials like you and go straight to Ford as as tome software has done and get this tech out there. And then it’s taken away from from people like you, or is that not the case, as the industry got less power than we might imagine?
Kevin Mayne 23:07
No, I think actually, I mean, what’s important is, to some extent, how this is regulated. And I’m particularly interested in how the car space is regulated and how the vehicle car interaction is, is regulated. I still believe the products are going to come. I have enough people now that I’m talking to some of whom are members who’ve got fairly advanced vehicle to x technology, as the jargon calls it and believe confidently, they can do bicycle car interaction to a high level of accuracy. Equally the conversations we’re having with them, they’re saying, Yeah, but you understand what our kind of policy positions are. And they’re like, Of course we do. That’s why we joined. That’s why we’re in this conversation. And we if we don’t understand we need you to explain it to us. Do I believe that there are no Tesla equivalents on the car side or people in the bike world that go out there? Well, we’ve already seen on E bikes, there were a group of companies that were happily willing to allow American speed bikes inside the European regulatory regime. And it caused us a lot of embarrassment with the regulators. But we doesn’t mean that our kind of position on this stuff wasn’t I think, right? Just because they were people pushing the boundaries. And we with the broader industry, when if suddenly you look at CIA’s membership, but when I look at the community, we work with economy, and I look at the national associations in many countries. Now that these are not cowboys. They take their industry very seriously and they take the reputation of the industry very seriously. And keen to get things right. But I do know, I mean, just as we might say, on helmets, or on bicycle lights, or on other tools on the bikes, there are people who, like the certain gadgets, they like certain accessories, it makes a big difference to them to feel safer. And I would give an example, very purely myself, that I would say, I 100% agree, for example, with all the conversations that we have around the world on the role of highways, it just so happens, I’ve lived for the last 30 years in rural areas. And when I ride a bike in rural areas, I’m often in the dark without street lamps, I choose to wear have high vis, it makes me feel safer. That doesn’t mean for one moment I’ve ever advocated for mandatory IVs. And I’ve ever wished to overstate the kind of actually what it achieves. It just makes me feel safer. And I have friends who have said, you know, can’t you guys come up with something we can put on our bikes, so the cars don’t run us over? Because they know I work in the industry.
Carlton Reid 26:01
So in the garage there, I’ve got a brand new month old Cannondale, that kind of cone let me have and it’s got a radar on the back. Yeah, it’s got all sorts of daylight running light, it’s got low, it’s bristling with tech. In other words, that cycling Weekly put it on its front cover, as you know, this is the bike of the future, etc, etc. So this this clearly this connected bike, you know, with all equipment on is kind of what consumers high end consumers at least, and certainly large parts of the industry think of as, as the future you know, you can you can you can make more money by having an equipped bike, etc. But is this not just also, you know, it’s only for one kind of cyclists, it’s for the high end cyclists, and yes, there’ll be some trickle down. But we were talking about, you know, these kind of cyclists, people like maybe me and you, and others who probably listened to, you know, podcasts, etc, and read the cycling literature, or just get a tiny 1% of the actual number of cyclists out there. And by actually, looking at this tech, and, and adopting this tech, there’s actually a danger, you know, 1015 years hence, of, we’ve made too much tech. And we’ve kind of taken away from what bicycling actually is for the majority of people, and we’re actually harming what the majority people want to do with their bicycles. Yeah.
Kevin Mayne 27:38
I think that’s classic kind of journalistic fallacy. Because you we live and some of us live, and I bet they’re in a world where we are presented with the products at the leading edge, we are talking to the brands and the companies about the things that excite them. And clearly, there’s a degree of you know, pro endorsement or whatever else, then you go and actually study your industry figures and your sales figures. And you study the consumer research that says, you know, a high proportion of consumers in many countries don’t even know the brand of their bike, that they are buying a usefulness, they are buying a lot of the basic values. And we’ve just done some consumer research not just released yet, but really implies that the bicycle boom of 2020 2021 was trembled by the simple pleasure of riding a bike. Some of those people chose to ride to buy ebikes and there’s been some price inflation, partly about supply chain, but a lot of people went back and refresh their mechanical bikes at the same time. And if you move away from where we’re exposed, you know the high end brands with their kind of tech that’s very focused at the kind of more sportive cyclist you know, some of the nicest connected technology I’ve seen has been in for example, in Sweden, you can buy a bicycle which has a whole load of connected technology for riding around on but it does things like connect you to your insurance company in detects the same you know, is your bike moved? That is someone tried to force your lock. You’ve done a few 1000 kilometres is about time you had some new tires. And it’s doing some stuff that yeah, it’s it’s more high end, but it’s actually promoting convenience and reliability. And we know convenience and reliability have a big impact on people’s perception of cycling just a bit difficult. Now, bicycles have punctures bicycles, if you have to repair your own bike or find a special shop that doesn’t happen a car so we can do more. You know, the, you know, the last 20 years we’ve seen you know, really good reliable puncture proof ties, for example, which take away a lot of consumer protection. auctions where the bicycle is just a basic daily utility, much like a family car run around. And that’s even more important when people go for car free families or when they for use technology like cargo bikes. So I think, you know, it’s really important that the brains excite a certain part of the community with a certain, the lightest, the fastest. The shiny is the ones that wins the most races. And I totally love what many of our members do in that space. And you know, you’re the brands are obviously there and the visible. But I see for the development of more cycling, we can be really, really excited about some of the just very easy facilitation of cycling. That’s also possible now that wasn’t there a generation ago.
Carlton Reid 30:51
Kevin, I also get excited by by this technology. And I can see that it can actually also bring people into cycling, if for instance, they feel as they’re going to be safer. If they’ve got tech, they’re going to come into cycling. I absolutely recognise that. However, when you have that, that that technology, and it sounds fantastic. I’m probably in the market for that. It’s like yeah, great. Why wouldn’t I want to be bristling with as much in effect radars and beacons. So, you know, I personally never get hit fantastic. For me, as a rich, privileged cyclist, however, does that not bring further and greater risks to the people who are not rich, privileged cyclists, that’s what I’m trying to get at is, people will never have this technology, but they are the bulk of the people out there cycling.
Kevin Mayne 31:49
That is the whole point of this conversation, is that we are inside technology conversations at European or international or global level. So that we can defend the interests of every single person who not only rides a bike today, but might want to ride a bike in is to skate. And dumb things happen in techno bubbles, when technologists are not challenged at the point of development, and they’re not offered up these perspectives. And that person on a horrible bike is also someone like me, with a bike I buy on eBay, and I buy a new another one every two or three years for leaving stations, because I’m afraid it’s going to get stolen. And I’d like maybe that to be better. But those bikes are as much part of the world even if some experienced cyclists, or people who would spend a lot of money as they are of the people, you talk about the high end. And I really worry that there’s some kind of caricature that the thinking people in the biking in his industry, have no love for that space. If you look at what cycling industries, policy positions are on any subject, we start with, what does it take to get more people cycling, number one, safe conditions, more infrastructure? When we go in our lobby to the European Union, we say look, there’s some interesting things can happen on tech. But by the way, we want you to spend 10 billion backing up member governments on building safe cycling infrastructure. So we are absolutely categorically clear that conditions on the ground lead. And then we ask ourselves, how can we help. And we can help in two ways. One is we might have some tech that makes people more confident or make cycling more accessible. Or we might have some financial models like bike sharing that make cycling more affordable. So that’s one part so we can help get people on bikes and more of them. And we also have a really important role to defend. There are other industrial sectors who are, you know, if if we get it wrong, they’re not our friend. And there we have a role to speak for this whole community. Some of the cycling citizens groups, the advocates, the more traditional groups, some of us is in industrial able to see him for the first time ever, really, we’re bringing an industrial voice to these conversations. So I can put the CEO of a large bicycle Corporation in a room with policy makers and have him or her say what I’m telling you now that this is we understand what it takes to deliver more cycling in Europe. Hmm.
Carlton Reid 34:47
Philip crease has a very pithy phrase when I’ve interviewed him about that subject and that is detected, not connected. So is that is that what Would that be something that the kind of the phrase that it almost sounds as though that’s where you’re coming from detached
Kevin Mayne 35:07
homes, on this stuff? I mean, we’ve done a few Villo cities together on the kind of where’s the smart tech taking us? And, you know, I think we’re pretty much in consensus. And the detected is interesting, because again, it doesn’t require entirely cars, there’s, there’s good things you can do with infrastructure and cameras and other technologies. And I mean, one of the examples I use is, you know, if you’re not counted, you don’t count. We can’t actually say, on a European level, how many kilometres are done in Europe by bikes, we can make estimates of how many Europeans cycle from consumer surveys and censuses and those kinds of things. And, you know, we’ve been bold and now extrapolating those figures and saying, Look, we think these are our numbers. And, and I’ve ever speech from people in our CIA summits saying back to us, wow, thank God, the last two years you brought data. That’s what we need. And with that data, we can make arguments and we can make economics. And thank you for coming and doing that.
Carlton Reid 36:17
So you talked about infrastructure a minute ago, and we obviously talked about the whole of this half now, we’ve been talking, we’ve been talking about the tech side, give me a like a potential percentage of how important these things are in your world. So how important is tech compared to how important is a physical curb separated? cycleway? So what how much time would you devote to these elements?
Kevin Mayne 36:50
Right, well, we just to clarify, I mean, we also partner with ECF, and others in the advocacy community, but we would, I mean, I did an estimate for our board and said that, you know, probably, even in kind of revenue terms, 70 80% of our work is on what will make cycling grow. Then within that, when we get the chance to make the arguments, you know, we lead every time with better infrastructure, better infrastructure, better infrastructure, and even our work on the European recovery programme. And when we, we asked for minimum, you know, billions to be spent on infrastructure, versus now a little bit on purchase premiums, and a little bit on innovation. But it was, you know, it’s you’re talking about kind of five to one or more in terms of the kind of ratios, and that’s just European stimulus funding, most money and infrastructure spent by national governments. So you know, we’re really, totally clear that it’s infrastructure first. And all the work that I did in the last two years on European recovery from COVID, huge proportion of that was on, let’s preserve the cycling streets, let’s preserve the pocket bike lanes, let’s get them made permanent, let’s get them segregated. Let’s get them high quality. And it’s a constant thread, totally backed by our industry.
Carlton Reid 38:22
So you don’t the kind of the corollary to that is you don’t think that, or if this did happen, you you have an immediate pushback to this, you don’t think that say the automotive interests will just say, well, forget bike lanes, we don’t need them, you know, forget all of these things. Because if we’re going to have connectivity, we’re going to have detection, you no longer have to worry in the future about motorists hitting you as a cyclist. Because we’re gonna have this tech, you’re still gonna be saying? No, that first and then maybe.
Kevin Mayne 38:53
I mean, the interesting one is you take the Dutch cyclestreets concept. Interestingly, not some countries feel uncomfortable with it, but it’s kind of 20 kilometres an hour, dedicated streets. Cyclists get priority, motorists are treated as guests. And in some urban cores, you’ve even got smaller you know, you go down to sort of 10 kilometres now cars are allowed access for access only and safely pedestrians and cars can all mingle. And if that is done well, you can gain enormous amounts of not quite dedicated infrastructure very, very fast because the implementation costs are very low. And you look what’s happened in Paris with say Rivoli in Rue Rivoli has effectively been clean of cars. So, gaining streets whole streets is a huge opportunity for us. And what’s interesting in the kind of automated vehicle discussions is I don’t think it’s a question of any but I think the least likely solution is the car industry comes and says we can all mingle happen No, I think our bigger worry is they will actually be saying you’ve all got to get off. Because many governments are not yet ready to allocate the space that’s needed for cycling and pedestrians and public transport. And the kind of dedicated AV lines, worrying me more. And also a lot of what’s happening on very small scale logistics, which is these kind of mobile pods, which are currently being put on to cycle lanes and on pavements as kind of tests and the things are adept. I mean, I feel sorry for you with your guide dog, you know, faced by something that looks like an AR two d two from Star Wars coming down the pavement, carrying a package for a logistics company, an absolute nightmare, but because these things don’t work in the road space and because they kind of embryonic tech, governments kind of go well let’s test it on a few pavements. And yeah, we genuinely we and the pedestrian movement and others, you know, we’ve got that, because again, we can say, actually, let’s look at the cost effectiveness and safety and reliability as compared to for example, cargo bikes. And the cargo by wins absolutely every time. Every time non negotiable. It works on speed, it works on safety, it works on volume, works on health, and we can win every single argument compared to those kinds of tech.
Carlton Reid 41:34
Thanks to Kevin Mayne there and thanks also to you for listening to Episode 293 of the Spokesmen cycling podcast brought to you in association as always with Jenson USA. Watch out for the next episode popping up in your feed next month. But meanwhile, get out there and ride …