One talented industrial design student, Robert Dumaresq, is about to change that with his Switch Commuter Bike, a high performance bike specifically designed for easy handling in crowded environments.

Dumaresq, from Monash University, has taken gold in the 2009 Australian International Design Awards’ James Dyson Award.

Dumaresq says the concept of the Switch Commuter Bike was born from the call for an end to bikes on public transport, and Switch was developed to address the market need for a fully-functional bicycle that was able to meet commuter needs by quickly and easily folding down for compact storage on transport, in the office and at home.

“The design innovation is Switch’s ability to fold in one smooth motion – making it one of the fastest folding bikes available,” he explained.

“It doesn’t rely on any structural locking mechanism to fold, as the weight of the rider keeps the frame open and rigid. A spring loaded ball bearing stops the rear section of the frame from unfolding prematurely when manoeuvring and handling.”

As the environmental impacts of transport methods continue to raise various responses, Australia is experiencing a surge in people cycling beyond simply a leisure activity.

It is a low-cost non-polluting form of transport that has the added benefit of keeping the cyclist physically active.

Dumaresq suggested many bike riders aren’t interested in conventional commuter bikes because they look like ‘commuter bikes’ where Switch looks like a traditional bike but with all the added benefits.

Aircraft seat flies high

High praise was also bestowed on another mode of transport in the 2009 Australian International Design Awards with an economy aircraft seat taking out the top international design prize.

With an innovative footrest net, dual-movement recline, and attention to detail in all aspects of the Qantas A380 Economy Seat, the seat was described as “a world class result” by the judges.

“The seat simply displays excellent material selection and reduction with respect to the surrounding limitations and impact on the environment while maintaining a high degree of passenger comfort,” the judges commented.

The winning product was designed by Marc Newson Ltd, in partnership with Qantas Airways and Recaro Aircraft Seating. 

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