Bicycle Innovation Lab: Ilona Kemps

‘Cool to see that there has come more attention for bicycles worldwide’

The Bicycle Innovation Lab is looking for innovative solutions to improve safety on bicycle paths. A five-member jury will assess all entries. What is their role in stimulating bicycle use, and what will they be paying attention to when assessing the ideas? Ilona Kemps, project lead start up in Sustainability & Mobility with Startup in Residence, shares her thoughts.

Bicycle paths in Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands are getting increasingly crowded. A welcome development, but how do you keep it safe? Anyone with an innovative solution to improve bicycle safety on paths with bicycles with varying speeds can submit it to the Bicycle Innovation Lab until 24 February. And have a chance to win 2,000 euros, and a budget up to 45,000 euros to implement the idea.

What is your professional involvement with bicycles?

I’m always on the road on my bicycle. And in my work with the Startup in Residence program I have been involved in several issues concerning bicycles. Such as ‘how do you get bicycles parked ‘properly?’ and ‘how can you spread cyclists better throughout the city?’.

E-bike: curse or blessing or a bit of both?

I think it is a blessing. It’s a good alternative for the polluting moped. It enables a large group to start moving, and keep moving. Sometimes these fast e-bikers do scare me though, and I think it can lead to dangerous situations. Maybe the solution for this is more room for cyclists!

Fietsinnovatielab_Ilona Kemps.jpg Ilona Kemps.

What kind of bicycle do you ride?

I ride a very old Gazelle bicycle that I’m extremely attached to. It has become something of a buddy after riding it through all kinds of weather. I will not trade it in lightly.

What will the bicycle landscape in Amsterdam and the Netherlands look like in ten years? And worldwide?

I think it’s very cool to see that there has come more attention for bicycles as a means of transport worldwide. Also in other large cities such as London and Barcelona, beautiful bicycle paths are laid down, and cars are treated more as ‘guests’. You also see this in Amsterdam. It makes me very happy when another busy road is transformed into a ‘cars are guests’ area. I hope this is a trend that will spread throughout the Netherlands. The ultimate goal: car traffic only in between cities, and only clean means of transport within the city.

What will you be paying specific attention to when assessing the entries?

The innovative character of the solution and how realistic it is to implement that solution.


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