Demographic change is generally a major challenge for Europe. Especially in the field of mobility we are faced with new tasks and challenges. The safe and widespread use of bicycles even among the elderly can help master some of these tasks. Three members of “Cycle Competence Austria” (“Radkompetenz Österreich”) have come up with solutions and innovative ideas for some of these challenges: FMG-AMOR and HERRY Consult are working on developing a mobility training concept in the project “SilberMobilGuides”. In the project “FahrSicherRad im Alter” (safer cycling for the elderly) Radlobby Austria wants to adapt cycle trainings to better match the needs of elderly people together with the “Klimabündnis”, a climate alliance of Austrian municipalities.
Also for elderly people cycling is a very good possibility to get some soft training and do yourself some good. But elderly cyclists are often discouraged from cycling because of a feeling of insecurity. “FahrSicherRad im Alter” wants to teach the safe and skilled handling of bicycles on the streets. This includes training with eBikes. To find out more about the needs and insecurities of cyclists over 65 years of age focus groups were interviewed in which also the location (urban or rural surroundings) was considered.
The results are both used for tailoring the training programmes to the needs of the target group, as well as for training certified cycling instructors. Eventually the specifically designed cycling trainings “FahrSicherRad im Alter” will be offered in up to six provinces with 24 courses being offered in Austria from autumn 2015.
“SilberMobilGuides”, on the other hand, is a research project focussing on the development of a general mobility training concept for elderly people. As part of the project HERRY Consult, the FGM and mobilito will develop and test a training and coaching manual for elderly people on so-called “SilberMobilGuides”.
These are the main tasks a “SilberMobilGuide” has to cover:
- Adviser for environmentally friendly forms of mobility (walking, cycling, public transport) as well as for general mobility information and services.
- Trainer for elderly people in walking and/or cycling.
Voluntary retirees will be chosen as “SilberMobilGuides” to help elderly people in their municipality/region/organisation to ensure safe mobility well into a higher age. The “SilberMobilGuides” are chosen by the initiators (such as municipal representatives, advice centres for elderly people, regional/local retiree organisations or associations, etc.) and trained for this task. This coaching is either taken on by the initiators themselves or a professional coach (such as e.g. the regional mobility adviser) can be used.
Both projects are research projects of the Austrian traffic safety fund, Verkehrssicherheitsfonds VSF.