Cargo-Bikes – it’s got a nice ring to it. Ting-a-ling! If you do a Google image search on the phrase you’ll find a wonderful array of cargo-carrying bikes and trikes, from functional to fancy, cute to crazy.
We need to sit up and pay attention, however, for the European Cycle Logistics project has found that in urban areas, half of all light goods could be moved by bicycle, and a quarter of all goods.
Trucks are only 3% of European road traffic, but they cause 14% of fatal collisions. In London, half of all bicycle fatalities are caused by trucks.
In cities across Europe, heavy goods vehicles are being banned from city centres. Prague has restricted access to its centre for certain delivery vehicles from 8am to 6pm. In Amsterdam, Nuremburg and Zermatt, only low-emissions vehicles can enter urban eco-zones. In Milan, London and Stockholm, motorized vehicles have to pay congestion charges. Legislation to permit truck-free environmental zones in city centres is coming in all across Europe. In Canada, in 2006, three major delivery companies received 34,000 parking tickets for blocking up various city centres.
So enter the cargo-bike, quiet, reliable and pollution-free, clearing the clogged arteries of urban centres. Cargo-bikes can carry more than 250 kg, from refrigerated goods to test tubes. In Cambridge UK, the average speed of a courier bike is 14 km/hr, while the average car speed in European cities is only 18 km/hr.
In France, La Petite Reine has 60 cargo-bikes across the country, moving over a million packages annually. France’s national rail company has invested in a cargo bike company called The Urban Cab for cost-effective delivery.
Imagine Canada’s cities with urban logistics centres outside the city centre, where trucks discharge their loads for delivery by bike. In Cambridge, UK, the bike company Outspoken Delivery was able to deliver 17,000 magazines to 430 locations in 2 days, for a cost of $1,000. No other service provider could compete. Their 8-Freight bikes can carry up to 60 kg; their Cycle Maximus trikes can carry up to 250 kg.
Cargo-bikes are already here in BC. In Duncan, the Cowichan Recyclists is a year-round recycling pick-up company that operates entirely by bike, using Tony’s Trailers, made locally by 1955 Tour de France cyclist Tony Hoar in Cobble Hill. In Victoria, GeaZone Eco-Couriers deliver up to 600 pounds of cargo, using 48 cubic foot container trailers. And in Vancouver, members of the nine-person Shift Urban Cargo Delivery Coop use their electric cargo trikes to deliver everything from office supplies to produce, clothing, electronic recycling, catering, small furniture, coffee, and (through Bites on Bikes) delicious gourmet sandwiches, salads, and sweets.
On Tuesday March 5th, at 12 Noon, the BCSEA is privileged to be presenting our lunchtime webinar with Julian Ferguson, from the European Cyclists’ Federation in Brussels, Europe. So pencil it in, to learn more about this new cycling revolution. Click HERE to register.
Cargo-bikes in Canada: http://cargobike.ca/
Vancouver Long Bikes: www.vancouverlongbikes.ca
Mother Earth News Guide to Cargo-Bikes http://www.motherearthnews.com/green-transportation/cargo-bikes-ze0z1301zgar.aspx#ixzz2IJtfOYe3
Cargo bikes are the greenest way to carry shopping – they run on bananas and flapjacks. Times, UK, Dec 26, 2012 http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/public/cyclesafety/article3640608.ece