Folding Bikes Take Center Stage at Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting
2010-09-22 · By Editor
As part of the 2010 Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, Bigfish Bikes, LLC today is announcing two initiatives to incorporate folding bikes into the alternative transportation continuum, giving mass transit commuters an easy solution for traveling “the first/last mile” between transit stations and their start/end point.
The first initiative involves participation in 15 “mobility hubs” in the greater Los Angeles area. These hubs, organized by the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, bring together several modes of alternative transportation in one centralized portal that is open to the public. Beginning in January 2011 and rolling out over the next 12-24 months, Bigfish plans to install 1,000 folding bikes at hubs in both Los Angeles and Long Beach.
Through the second initiative, Bigfish Bikes is helping companies, in cities including Pasadena, Glendale and elsewhere in greater Los Angeles, bring their sustainability commitments to life by giving employees increased access and encouraging them to adopt more sustainable transportation options.
“Many mass transit systems around the world have good ridership and a strong outlook for the future, but they are missing one critical element. Integrating folding bikes into public transportation systems – and therefore addressing the issue of the first and last mile – can help sustain those systems for the long term,” said Sandi Cesko, president of Studio Moderna, the parent company of Bigfish. “The commitment we are making with CGI is perfectly aligned with my earliest vision for Bigfish – adding a link in the transportation value chain that takes sustainable mobility from concept to reality.”
“Our goal is to reduce use of automobiles, the associated fuel consumption and related emissions by making alternative transportation simply too attractive to ignore,” said Richard G. Rosen, president, Bigfish. “By providing an easy-to-use and convenient solution for that first/last mile between a transit station and home or work, folding bikes can help more individuals complete the commute, while improving traffic congestion and air quality.”
Initial public/private investment from local transit agencies and committed corporate partners could not only increase ridership, but ultimately create a long-term revenue stream for the transit agencies, Rosen said.
Bigfish folding bikes were invented in Slovenia in 2002. They are easy to use, transport and stow. With four basic folding steps and weighing less than 28 pounds, they can be folded to half their size in just 12 seconds, giving commuters a convenient alternative to automobile transportation.
The initiatives are being announced as part of Bigfish’s “commitment to action” at CGI. Commitments are catalysts for action, translating practical goals into meaningful and measurable results. Since 2005, CGI members have made more than 1,400 commitments valued at upwards of $46 billion to impact more than 200 million lives in over 150 countries.
The Bigfish commitment will help address a transportation issue facing many large metropolitan areas around the world, where over-reliance on personal automobile travel has led to congested freeways, lost productivity, increased carbon emissions and unhealthy environments. In Los Angeles, for example, alternative transportation systems are underutilized, with transit agencies reporting an unused capacity nearing 60 percent most times of the day.
The two programs outlined in the commitment to CGI will help Bigfish provide the general public and low-income populations, employers and employees an alternative, easy travel system with the potential to substantially reduce automobile use. These pilots represent new and evolved partnerships with private business and select municipalities, and will result in increasing usage of more sustainable transportation options, thereby reducing fuel use and related emissions.
Hilary Norton, executive director of Fixing Angelenos Stuck in Traffic (FAST), a group working to address transit issues in Los Angeles, points to folding bikes as an innovative solution to help get people out of cars and into mass transit.
“Los Angeles is a city crippled by traffic. Because the long-term solutions are a way off, we need to look at near-term changes to reduce congestion and improve traffic. One of our biggest challenges is addressing the ‘first/last mile’ problem, a tremendous barrier to people taking subways or riding the bus everyday,” Norton said.
“Folding bikes are a seamless solution to the last mile, and we think once people give them a try, they’ll be much more inclined to take mass transportation a couple of times a week,” Norton said.
Watch the 2010 CGI Annual Meeting webcasts, with meeting sessions streamed live on the Clinton Global Initiative website.
About Bigfish Bikes
Bigfish Bikes complete the commute in the green mobility movement. The Bigfish folding concept was invented in 2002 by engineer and innovator Niko Mihelic. Designed and engineered in Slovenia and built in Italy, Bigfish bikes feature a single robust frame with proportions the same as a full-size bike, with “click-clack” quick release folding technology that transforms the bike into a flat folded package in just 12 seconds. The folded bike has a narrow profile and can be wheeled, making it easy to transport and store. Bigfish Bikes, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Studio Moderna, the leading direct marketing company in Central and Eastern Europe. For more information, visit the Bigfish Bikes website.
About the Clinton Global Initiative
Established in 2005 by President Bill Clinton, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. Since 2005, CGI Annual Meetings have brought together more than 125 current and former heads of state, 15 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, hundreds of leading CEOs, heads of foundations, major philanthropists, directors of the most effective nongovernmental organizations, and prominent members of the media. The CGI community also includes CGI University (CGI U), a forum to engage college students in global citizenship, MyCommitment.org, an online portal where anybody can make a Commitment to Action, and CGI Lead, which engages a select group of young leaders from business, government, and civil society. For more information, visit the Clinton Global Initiative website.