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EU cycling associations united in campaign to protect EPACs as bicycles in EU regulatory review

Brussels, 15 October 2020 – The EU cycling advocacy associations in Brussels have united in response to the investigation by the European Commission on the safety risks related to L-category vehicles and new Personal Mobility Devices (PMDs).

CONEBI, CIE, European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF), the European Cycle Logistics Federation (ECLF) and the International Mountain Bike Association Europe (IMBA EU) are combining their efforts to make sure the protection of the booming EU e-bike market and user safety is taken into account in the  review.

This review was primarily triggered by EU Member States concerns about new vehicles such as scooters and mono-wheels, but it has taken responsibility for a review of all vehicles in this fast-growing micro-mobility segment, including EPACs, speed-EPACs, and cargo bikes.

CONEBI has been leading the industry coordination of the review since it was original discussed by the EU Commission. CONEBI says that there is a high risk that EPACs (25km/h max assistance and 250W continuous rated power) might not be excluded anymore in the future revision of the EU Type Approval regulation. (Reg. EU 168/2013). The other associations joined CONEBI’s campaign because they agree that this possibility must be the focus of a coordinated response by all the associations at EU and national level. They recognize that type approval could add cost and complexity to e-bike supply, while adding considerable risk that governments would impose compulsory helmets, insurance and licensing for using the EPACs.

The main objective is to ensure that the EPAC continues to be considered legally a bicycle, as was already decided by the EU in the early 2000’s, when EPACs were excluded from the type approval framework[1], developed by the EU in collaboration with CONEBI (Colibi – Coliped), ETRA and ECF.

It is not guaranteed that EPACs will continue to be excluded from the EU Type Approval regulation, despite the correspondence of the bicycle to an EPAC, with concrete detrimental consequences for both the industry and consumers: type-approval would sharply limit the EPAC innovation and design, shrinking the number of models and the choice for EU citizens. That scenario would definitely impact the positive development of the EPAC and Components Industry, including rules on usage.

The review will also provide recommendations whether the current L-category within the type approval regulation is structured in a way to allow for the right balance between vehicle safety and boost to market uptake.

This means that the investigation will try to clarify a number of other outstanding issues in this area. First of all if the current moped category for the SpeedEPAC (cycle designed to pedal up to 45km/h assistance and 4 times the pedalling power) in the EU type approval legislation is suitable: in a recent meeting with the European Commission, CONEBI stated that the current moped category does not seem to be the appropriate one for the SpeedEPAC and that an improvement in that perspective is needed. Secondly, there is also an opportunity to address Cargo Bikes within the legislation.

Thirdly, whether the exclusion from the regulation for off-road vehicles is acceptable. This being an important issue highlighted by IMBA EU which is very concerned about the negative impact of unregulated off-road vehicles when there is constant pressure to maintain mountain bike access to countryside and wild landscapes.

The associations have welcomed the opportunity to look at these wider regulatory developments and are consulting internally about the right proposals.  However the associations want to reinforce the message that these additional items must not distract from the most important outcome of this review which is to maintain the situation where EU citizens can buy and ride bicycles and EPACs together as a common bicycle eco-system, on and off-road, protected by the regulations and standards developed by the Industry over the last 100 years for the safety of the consumer. EPACs are representing an important transport solution for millions of European citizens.

TRL (a consultancy engaged by the EU for the investigation) has started meeting relevant stakeholders and released a questionnaire, with deadline October 30th. In case companies want to know more about that, they can contact the CONEBI national association present in their country or the CONEBI secretariat directly.

In addition, the associations are now reaching out to their communities to gather further evidence in view of the whole review, which will be completed by February 2021.

[1] Directive 2002/24/EC

2020-12-01T07:50:58+00:00

More cycling will be essential to the success of the EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy

Brussels, July 2020 – The European cycling associations ECF, CIE and CONEBI took part in the public consultation on the roadmap for the European Strategy for Sustainable and Smart Mobility initiative to emphasise the essential role cycling must play in achieving the initiative’s ambitious objectives.

The strategy is part of the European Green Deal, which aims to achieve a 90% reduction in transport emissions by 2050. The Commission intends to adopt a comprehensive Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy to meet this target and ensure that the EU transport sector is fit for a clean, digital and modern economy.

The cycling associations were united in their feedback that more cycling across Europe is by far the most effective measure to help achieve this and to fast-track the EU Green Deal, and that cycling provides a significant and rapidly growing contribution to the EU’s economy.

Therefore, the EU Strategy for a Sustainable and Smart Mobility needs to commit to this essential modal transport shift towards more cycling with ambitious targets, effective policies and substantial funding.

Specifically, the European cycling associations have jointly called for:

1) The treatment of cycling as an equal partner in the mobility system;

2) €6bn in EU funding for safe, high quality cycling infrastructure;

3) Improving the EU Urban Mobility policy framework;

4) Enabling a centralised €5.5 bn EU E-bike Access Fund to make the benefits of e-bikes available in all countries in the EU and stimulate further job creation ; and

5) Developing and implementing a genuine EU Cycling Strategy.

ECF co-CEO Jill Warren: “There is simply no conceivable way for the EU to achieve a 90% reduction in transport emissions and to reap the enormous potential benefits to the environment and citizens’ health without a major, further shift towards more cycling, so we are counting on the EU to enable this shift with clear targets, effective policies and adequate funding.”

CONEBI General Manager Manuel Marsilio: “The EU Bicycle Industry is a major contributor to the EU competitiveness, innovation, sustainable and smart mobility goals defined in the European Green Deal. In 2019 sales of e-bikes increased by 23% in comparison to 2018, resulting in 3.4 million units sold and showing a big potential for a modal shift from individual motorised transport to more cycling.”

CIE CEO Kevin Mayne: “In the period to 2030 cycling will deliver a fast start to the EU Green Deal, building on the rapid transition to cycling already seen in the COVID19 recovery. The cycling sector provides industrial leadership and sets new milestones for Europe to be a leading industrial force in transport, in both sustainable and connected mobility, so the EU Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy needs to embrace cycling to help unlock its huge potential.”

2020-11-30T16:17:19+00:00

The 2020 CONEBI Bicycle Industry & Market Profile with 2019 figures is now available

Brussels, 13 July 2020 – The 2020 Bicycle Industry and Market Profile with 2019 figures – prepared by CONEBI in coordination with its national members – is now available: it shows another year of expansion for the EU Bicycle Industry. Strong growth can especially be noticed in both sales and production of pedal assist e-bikes.

The total joint sales of bicycles and e-bikes remains similar to the previous years, amounting to around 20 million units sold in 2019. The overall sales value continues to rise: this is due to the increase in pedal assist e-bikes sold which grew by 23% from 2018 to 2019, surpassing the mark of 3 million units sold annually for the first time and representing 17% of the total bicycle sales. CONEBI expects this positive trend to continue over the next years, predicting e-bikes sales up to more than 6.5 million units in 2025.

Manuel Marsilio, General Manager of CONEBI, states: ‘’The pedal assist e-bike market will continue to thrive if three pivotal conditions are going to be met in the years to come:

  1. The current favorable status of EPACs (Electrically Power Assisted Cycles up to 25km/h of max assistance and 250W), which at the moment are excluded from the EU Type Approval regulation (meaning no type approval but also no mandatory motor vehicle insurance, no mandatory motorcycle helmet, no driving license and free circulation as a bicycle) remains in place;
  2. The positive momentum for Cycling in the EU continues as a response to COVID-19 and more cycling infrastructures are built to give space and safety to the growing number of people riding a bike;
  3. Intelligent Transport Systems are developed within the right EU legislative and technical frameworks in order for cars and buses to detect both bicycles and e-bikes and thus making Cycling Safer.’’

Moving from sales to production, after a slight increase in the production of bicycles and e-bikes from 2017 to 2018 (+0.7%) this trend continues much more strongly in 2019 when an increase of 11% can be noticed. This is due in particular to the fact that the production of pedal assist e-bikes in Europe is growing at fast pace: from 2018 to 2019 the surge, in units, amounts to almost 60%. Looking at the production of parts and accessories, the total value amounts to 2€ billion.

Alongside the boost in production, also the number of direct jobs in the EU increased in 2019 to a total of more than 60,000, to which we have to add more than 60,000 indirect jobs upstream and downstream, for a total of around 120,000: 14.4% growth in comparison with 2018 and 32% in comparison with 2017.

CONEBI President Erhard Büchel: “2019 has been a positive year for the EU Bicycle Industry thanks to the continuous boom of e-bikes as well as the increasing production of bicycle parts and accessories in Europe. CONEBI is in regular contact with the European institutions to represent the Bicycle, E-Bike, Parts and Accessories industries as a leading ecosystem in the EU Green economy and major contributor to the ultimate objectives of the EU Green Deal.’’

For more information about sales, production, employment and imports, as well as specific national market summaries, the 2020 Bicycle Industry and Market Profile with 2019 figures is available as of today. In case you are interested, you can contact Anna-Lena Scherer at anna-lena.scherer@conebi.eu.

CONEBI

2020-11-30T16:14:20+00:00

A day full of sadness for all of us

Brussels, 17 June 2020 – It is not easy to find the right words in this moment to express our grief for the loss of Siegfried Neuberger.

Siegfried Neuberger has been a wonderful colleague and a friend, a unique professional: he has given a lot to the Bicycle Industry at all levels with his expertise and passion as well as with his politeness, harmony and respect. All the deepest feelings cannot be explained in a press release.

Siegfried Neuberger and the Bicycle Industry are linked to each other, and will always be. Siegfried has managed the ZIV excellently, representing – for CONEBI – a virtuous example to follow. His knowledge and ideas have made CONEBI a stronger association.

Chairman of European and international standardization committees, Siegfried has been a bright resource in the development of the most important regulations and standards that apply to the Industry, such as the EN/ISO norms and the EU Pedal Assist E-Bike Regulations for the highest safety of bicycles and e-bikes put on the European market.

His hard work for CONEBI is the best example of how positive and constructive the collaboration between European authorities and the Bike Industry can be. It has been an honour and a privilege to work with Siegfried: CONEBI heartily thanks him for all his support. Both the Board of Directors and Secretariat have learnt a lot from him.

‘’We would like to send our condolences to Siegfried’s family’’ – states the CONEBI’s President Erhard Büchel. ‘’Thank you for everything Siegfried, we will never forget you’’ is the common message from everybody in the CONEBI family.

CONEBI
Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry

2020-11-30T16:04:15+00:00

Cycling breakthrough in the EU COVID-19 recovery plan

Brussels, 2 June 2020 – Last week European cycling associations marked an important breakthrough for cycling on the EU agenda as an equal mode of transport with the auto sector and public transport.

At a press conference the Executive Vice President of the Commission Frans Timmermans announced that cycling can be funded as part of new mobility money that will be released by the EU, alongside other measures like electric car charging and public transport. Dutch Commissioner Timmermans is one of the most senior political figures in the EU and the leader of the whole Green Deal process within the Commission, so this is a very important commitment. The Urban Mobility package is expected to be around €20billion and will be given to Member States through EU regional funds, with the purpose to support challenges linked to air pollution, climate change and citizens’ wellbeing.

The announcement follows the proposal to the EU Commission of a €13billion cycling package for infrastructure and e-bike access by six associations (CIE, CONEBI, ECF, ECLF, IMBA EU and EBMA) which has been matched by intensive public and private lobbying activities in Brussels.

Manuel Marsilio, General Manager of CONEBI agreed “We have started to bridge the gap between cycling and other modes in the EU agenda.  This high-level endorsement is needed for the EU to fund local authorities and national governments with regard to cycling infrastructures, VAT reductions, purchase bonuses for bicycles and e-bikes as well as cycling in smart and connected urban mobility developments.’’

Kevin Mayne, CEO of CIE explained the importance of the announcement. “The first point is the level at which the announcement was made, this was at the absolute core of EU policy making which is a real first for cycling. Secondly it was the clarity of the endorsement, cycling is alongside the other modes as a core responsibility of the EU, not hidden in local transport policy. This is a big breakthrough for the cycling sector.”

Jill Warren and Morten Kabell, joint CEOs of ECF said “This is something to celebrate as we go into World Bicycle Day on June 3rd. We will now use the opportunity to press for more concrete measures for cycling in the EU recovery proposals and to work with our member organisations to make sure Member States are ready to spend the allocated funds on cycling improvements and incentives that achieve our goals of more and better cycling for all in Europe.”

The background to the Timmermans statement was the European Commission unveiling its plan to create an EU-wide recovery fund in the aftermath of the COVID-19 outbreak – putting at the heart of it the European Green Deal. The overall idea is to provide liquidity to the most affected EU regions, covering a broad range of initiatives that will tackle first of all the health and economic emergency.

The process is far from over because these announcements have to become plans and budgets that can be distributed through the EU. The cycling associations say that cycling was not on the EU Commission’s agenda for recovery a few weeks ago but now should be able to compete for a fair share of the billions of Euros in the recovery plan. This complements a wide range of national and city level announcements which are seeing cycle use rebound faster than any other transport mode.

The discussion continues on June 3rd, World Bicycle Day when ECF is holding the “Rethinking Mobility: Cycling for a Safe COVID-19 Recovery and Beyond” Webinar with leading decision-makers and cycling advocates.

Notes:

The letter by six cycling associations to the EU Commission can be seen here.
The six signatory organisations are: Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry, Cycling Industries Europe; European Cyclists’ Federation; European Cycle Logistics Federation; European Bicycle Manufacturers’ Association; International Mountain Biking Association Europe

A video clip of Frans Timmermans statement can be seen here

Registration for “Rethinking Mobility: Cycling for a Safe COVID-19 Recovery and Beyond” Webinar here

2020-11-30T15:57:41+00:00

European Commission’s EU Industrial Recovery Strategy in coordination with CONEBI

Brussels, 13 May 2020 – ‘’The upcoming European Commission proposal for the Recovery Strategy will embed the main elements of the European Green Deal, building on smart and clean mobility, which is at the core of the bicycle industry.’’ This is what the European Commission – Directorate General for the EU Market and Industry – states in its letter  to CONEBI.

The European Commission confirmed the messages shared recently with CONEBI and is committed to support the Bicycle, E-Bike, Parts and Accessories Industries in the current situation, with a focus as well ‘’on the new emerging global context’’. The aim of the European Commission is to create the conditions for the structural changes that will allow the EU economy to remain in the vanguard of technological development and competitiveness. The Head of the Automotive and Mobility Industries, in the Commission’s letter, says: ‘’We believe that the bicycle industry could take a big part in this thanks notably to the important innovations in the sector and to its positive carbon footprint’’. 900 companies and 110.000 jobs in Europe will have a voice in such an important dialogue with the European Union – states Manuel Marsilio, CONEBI General Manager.

Moreover, CONEBI and its advocacy partners are also calling for investments in Cycling infrastructure and a €5 billion EU e-bike access fund. At the European level, CONEBI has signed a letter to the European Commission which was developed together with organisations representing public transport authorities and operators, business associations and POLIS – the network of European cities and regions for innovative transport solutions. It highlights the need to support urban mobility in responding to the coronavirus crisis, but also to fully embrace the opportunities for sustainable urban mobility in front of us.

CONEBI is extremely glad to see that today the European Commission published a very important communication: “COVID-19: Guidelines on the progressive restoration of transport services’’. It is written:

‘’Urban mobility is already being re-thought in several Member States, regions and cities, such as extending pavements and bicycle paths, adapting timetables and developing innovative technologies to manage passenger flows and avoid crowding. The Commission encourages and supports the development and implementation of new urban mobility solutions and measures to facilitate active, collective and shared mobility in a safe manner, and to ensure trust among citizens’’.

Bicycle sales are increasing considerably all over Europe, cities are developing cycling plans, bike shops reopening where they have been closed and factories back to production: great merits go to the members of CONEBI that are developing valuable strategies in coordination with local authorities and governments.

More info will follow in the next weeks. Stay tuned!

CONEBI

2020-11-30T15:54:57+00:00

The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests riding bicycles during the COVID-19 outbreak

Brussels, April 2020 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently released a technical guidance. It recites:

‘’While cities around the world are introducing a broad range of measures to limit physical contacts to prevent and slow down the COVID-19 pandemic, many people might still have a need to move around cities to reach their workplaces when possible, meet essential daily needs or provide assistance to vulnerable people’’. It continues:

‘’Whenever feasible, consider riding bicycles or walking: this provides physical distancing while helping to meet the minimum requirement for daily physical activity, which may be more difficult due to increased teleworking, and limited access to sport and other recreational activities’’.

World cities are turning their streets over to walkers and cyclists: new temporary bike lanes are popping up. For example, in Berlin several streets have new, wide bike lanes that are created from space generally intended for motorized vehicles, Bogotá has turned 100km of traffic streets into emergency bike lanes using temporary cones, and Budapest city officials just planned a cycling network on main roads.

In the ‘’capital of Europe’’ Brussels, the entire historical city centre will be a 20km/h zone with priority for pedestrians and cyclists: the prioritization concept in the urban commuting framework is therefore gaining traction during this very difficult moment due to COVID-19. Paris and Madrid are preparing a long-term strategy and they are currently analyzing how to support bicycles as the first means of transportation after the removal of lockdown measures.

The Environmentalist Pierre Serne, former Transport Vice-President for the Ile-de-France region, in a recent article said: ‘’Next May we could see entire boulevards where motor vehicles would be provisionally banned in favor of the bicycle’’.

Bike shops re-opened  in Austria on April 14th and in Germany on April 20th, while in other countries bike repair shops kept on being available, like in Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK : in that regard, here  you can find the recent joint CONEBI – ECF press release, supported by Members of the European Parliament, calling on EU governments and local authorities to fully support Cycling.

Last but not least, COVID-19 is having considerable economic repercussions on the Bicycle Industry and thus CONEBI is in regular contact with the European Institutions to discuss prompt support: several EU programmes have been presented in the last weeks by the European Commission, but they have to be easily accessible for companies, avoiding red tape and empowering the Bicycle eco-system to be at the forefront of the much needed ‘’Green Revolution’’.

2020-11-30T15:50:07+00:00

COVID-19, Cycling and Bike Repair Shops

Brussels, 20 March 2020 – CONEBI and ECF call upon all EU Member States to allow bicycle repair services to continue throughout the COVID-19 crisis, provided that all necessary health precautions are respected.

The Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry CONEBI and the European Cyclists’ Federation ECF, representing bicycle users in all EU Member States, believe that in the context of the rampant spread of COVID-19 in Europe, the use of bicycles and pedal-assisted e-bikes – always with total respect for official public health protection rules – should be encouraged.

Morten Kabell, co-CEO of ECF, states: “On bicycles, people keep the required distance for avoiding infections. They are also much less likely to touch potentially contaminated objects in public space. To minimise the risk of infection, German Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn therefore mentioned cycling to work as one of his recommendations to the population. On a more general note, regular physical activity like cycling helps to keep the cardiovascular system and the lungs healthy, preventing diseases and protecting the body from infections. Therefore, it is important that people can continue cycling throughout the crisis and are able to find help in case they need to have their bike repaired.”

Fortunately, in most EU Member States, the continued practice of cycling for necessary trips like going to work or grocery shopping is safeguarded because, bicycle repair shops can continue their operations even under the strict “lockdown” rules. However, in some Member States bicycle repair shops are not allowed to open, even when they could do so in a way that minimises risks of infection.

Manuel Marsilio, General Manager of CONEBI: “Bicycle repair shops provide a basic service to the population and allow for risk-minimising mobility to continue where it is most necessary. Therefore, I deem they would need to stay open during these difficult times, of course in a way that protects the health both of employees and customers.”

The S&D Group MEPs Alessandra Moretti (Italy, ENVI Committee on Health and Environment) and Ismail Ertug (Germany, TRAN Transport Committee) agree with this position:

“First of all, we would like to say that we are deeply sympathetic to all those who have contracted the virus, and their families. We want to be close to them and we admire the work of doctors and nurses across Europe who are providing a courageous service of vital importance to the public health of millions of European citizens.

While fully respecting the different national travel laws in the Member States of the European Union, we believe that mobility for proven work and need should be addressed – where possible – in ways that allow for greater social distancing such as walking and cycling, noting that public transport presents some additional risks. For this reason, bicycle repair shops, with the necessary and appropriate health precautions, should be able to remain open to allow everyone to ride safely, thus favouring less risk of infection”.

2020-11-30T15:35:08+00:00

CONEBI and WBIA at the International Transport Forum’s Consultation in Paris

Paris, January 2020 – On Monday and Tuesday 27-28 January, the International Transport Forum (ITF) gathered Transport and Mobility organizations for an interactive discussion to prepare the prestigious ITF 2020 Summit on ”Transport Innovation for Sustainable Development”, which will take place in Leipzig at the end of May.

The International Transport Forum was created in 2006 by ministers from 43 countries all over the world: it now counts 60 countries, including France, Germany, Italy, US, India, China, Japan and Russia, which aim at exploring common intergovernmental policies that have a positive impact on Transport and Mobility in their respective territories.

How new technologies and business models enhance the accessibility, safety and efficiency of transport infrastructure and services is the reasoning at the heart of the ITF consultation: the Confederation of the European Bicycle Industry (CONEBI) and WBIA (World Bicycle Industry Association) participated for the first time ever, raising the attention on topics that range from the pivotal role of bicycles and e-bikes within the future development of emission-free smart cities to the importance of improving road safety via concrete political decisions for all Vulnerable Road Users, including cyclists. The consultation represented the perfect occasion to reiterate as well the need to support the Bicycle Industry in its efforts to provide solutions for last mile delivery and incentivize transport decarbonization with the adoption – by governments – of cutting-edge policies that have the potential to pragmatically shape the role of sustainable mobility.

”We want to make sure that bicycle and e-bikes – in an open dialogue with public transport services and local traffic management authorities – are going to be treated as number one priority to foster commuting and commercial deliveries in urban conglomerates” – says CONEBI GM and WBIA spokesperson Manuel Marsilio. ”The tangible challenges ahead due to climate change all over the world expose decision-makers to high  pressure – both from the international institutions and citizens – to invest more resources in drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants: for instance congestion charges to be invested in cycling infrastructures, but also more attention to carbon budgets to better understand the detrimental impact of CO2 that derives from mobility. I hope that Oslo’s commitment to become a carbon neutral city by 2030 is going to be a convincing example for many other cities”.

The consultation saw the participation – among others – of the European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Metropolitan Transport Authorities (EMTA), the International Association of Public Transport (UITP) and the European Conference of Transport Research Institutes (ECTRI). ”What defines transport innovation is economic growth, environmental sustainability and social inclusion” argued the ITF Secretariat during the introduction of their Work Program. There are indeed five major themes which can be identified within transport innovation: decarbonization, safety & security, connectivity, digitalization and accessibility.

CONEBI and WBIA thank the International Transport Forum for the invitation and look forward to the 2020 Summit to present to the international community and world transport ministers the vision that the Industry has with regard to Sustainable Transport – together with the key findings that relate to the industry contribution in terms of jobs, growth, research and innovation.

2020-11-30T15:51:11+00:00

The European Commission announces the ”European Green Deal”

Brussels, 11 December 2019 – Times are changing, but transport still accounts for a quarter of EU’s greenhouse gas emissions. That’s not all: transport emissions are even growing. Becoming the world’s first climate-neutral continent by 2050 represents the greatest challenge and opportunity, so today the European Commission presented the European Green Deal, the ”most ambitious package of measures that should enable European citizens and businesses to benefit from sustainable green transition” – the European Commission says.

We are talking about an initial roadmap of key policies that will be set into legislation and presented within the next three months under a proposal for a ‘European Climate Law’: among the key policies, the European Commission explicitly mentions the commitment to accelerate the shift to Sustainable and Smart Mobility. The European Commission will focus on boosting multimodal and connected mobility by supporting – via EU funding instruments – projects and services that can reduce congestion and pollution in urban areas. It will also propose more stringent air pollutant emissions standards for combustion-engine vehicles.

”The European Green Deal is an important initiative to protect our planet and contribute to a sustainable future:  the question is how to practically make it successful’’ – CONEBI’s GM Manuel Marsilio states. ‘’Bicycles and E-Bikes should be placed at the core of that success and supported by EU and national policies that can foster sales. For example, we call on the European Institutions to adopt a good proposal on VAT rates so that EU governments can eventually make a more targeted use of VAT rates, like VAT reduction on the purchase of bicycles, e-bikes and accessories.’’

CONEBI

2020-11-30T15:17:40+00:00