Croozer Blog: Behind the Scenes

“People won’t use a bike unless they feel safe” – Interview with our managing director Hanna on her work for the German National Cyclists' Association

More and more people are switching to bicycles, and the urgently needed transition towards sustainable mobility is slowly gaining momentum. We at Croozer also want to make a contribution to this transition and help shape the future of mobility – not only through our bicycle trailers, but also through our (political) activities in various networks! This is why we are all the more thrilled that our managing director Hanna Grau joined the federal board of the German National Cyclists’ Association (ADFC) at the end of 2021. In this interview, she shares some insights into what type of work she is doing for the ADFC.

Hello Hanna, you recently added a new position to your résumé – you’re now on the federal board of the ADFC! A big congratulations to you! What motivated you to apply for the role?

As a business leader and managing director of Croozer, I devote most of my professional life to the development of bicycle trailers that help today’s families manage their everyday routines. This work is incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling – particularly now, when the bicycle is becoming a central means of transport for more and more families. However, in my work, I often notice that there are still obstacles that make it difficult for people to get places safely by bike. And I want to do everything in my power to help change this situation – those who choose the bicycle as their main mode of transport should be able to ride wherever they want without fear or stress.

Can you briefly explain what the ADFC does and what its mission is?

The ADFC is the special interest group for cyclists in Germany and currently has more than 200,000 members. I guess you could say, the association’s mission is two-fold. First, it offers its members all kinds of information and support, including services like roadside assistance, liability insurance and legal protection insurance.
Second, the ADFC is also very active in the area of transport policy, fighting for increased bicycle use and, in particular, safe conditions for cyclists. In this context, it’s important to note that the association is non-partisan.

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What are your specific responsibilities? What does a typical ADFC “work day” look like, and how do you communicate with each other?

My focus area is industry. This means that I’m working on helping the ADFC Business Club develop into an interesting network that enables various companies from the bicycle industry to exchange ideas and work together for a common cause. This strong partnership also makes it possible for companies to become politically active without having to invest a great deal of their own resources. In addition, I see myself as an expert on family mobility – in this area, I can share information with other board members and help keep attention focused on the special needs of women and families.

Most of this work takes place on the weekends or in the evenings after 8 o’clock. We have regular board meetings, which are also attended by the federal executive directors. At these meetings, we discuss the ADFC’s strategic orientation. However, there’s also a lot of direct exchange: for example, between board members, with active ADFC members and also with employees from the main office.

In addition, members of the federal board are often invited to attend public events, either as guests or to represent the interests of cyclists. I also have colleagues who are responsible for political lobbying. Their work involves lots of meetings with ministries and members of the German Bundestag.

What do you hope to achieve in your work with the ADFC?

I’d like to build a network within the bicycle industry, because innovations also need a suitable political framework, and vice versa: innovations can provide policymakers with a framework that should be taken into consideration for their further policymaking.

In addition, I’d like to help make Germany into a haven for cyclists and use the holistic philosophy of the ADFC to ensure that we always keep the special needs of women and families in mind, as unfortunately their needs still go unrecognised far too often.

Driving forward the transition to sustainable mobility is a matter of personal importance for both the ADFC and Croozer. What do you think is needed or will have to change in order to ensure the success of this transition?

In my opinion, a good infrastructure is the key to success: People won’t use a bike unless they feel safe. This is especially true for young families! We can develop as many impressive products as we want, and people can be super enthusiastic about cycling, but if they fear for their lives on the road, if they have to squeeze between cars in the bustle of crowded city streets, then cycling will simply not be any fun at all.
And, in order to succeed , a transition to sustainable mobility will have to be enjoyable and convey a great attitude towards life . We would like to create new opportunities for people in Germany and help improve health and satisfaction through active mobility.

This is why we, as the ADFC, speak with ministries and members of parliamentary groups at national level. In this context, the most important aim is the amendment of Germany’s Road Traffic Act (StVG) to integrate the aims of Vision Zero, of climate, environmental and health protection, and of urban development as equally important objectives. Although the “Law on Traffic with Motor Vehicles” from 3 May 1909 was renamed the “Road Traffic Act” in 1952, most of the content and structure of the current version are still a throwback to the motor vehicles law of imperial times.

One last question: What if I, as a cyclist, have an issue? Can I then simply get in touch with you?

You can contact the ADFC any time – we are represented on all major social media platforms. And we always enjoy seeing new faces among the active members. We are looking forward to motivated people at the ADFC who share our vision of Germany as a haven for cyclists!

Thank you for the interesting conversation, Hanna – we wish you every success in your new task!

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