Don’t be too surprised if you come across an unwieldy-looking contraption trundling across a European city − and even a few North American ones too. It’s probably just one of the new cargo bikes, a mega-version of a much older technology. And it could be the answer to a range of urban problems. Cargo bikes come in two versions, manual (or rather pedal) and electric. Either is ideal for tackling that bane of urban living, air pollution. Globally, air pollution kills an estimated seven million people annually; in the UK alone, it is responsible for approximately 40,000 deaths a year. Cargo bikes, where they work (obviously there are places where they don’t) cut the pollution drastically. A report, Large-tired and tested: how Europe’s cargo bike roll-out is delivering, which argues for the widest possible uptake of the vehicles, for a range of reasons. It’s urging readers not to dismiss them as an example of “old, unglamorous technologies”, but rather something which represents a move “from a niche transport option to a mainstream delivery choice”. A recent study from Possible, a climate charity and member of the RTA, found that cargo bikes cut emissions by 90% compared with diesel vans, and by a third when compared with electric vans. The study also concluded that electric cargo bikes are 60% faster than vans at making deliveries in urban centres, achieving higher average speeds and dropping off ten parcels an hour compared with just six for a van. In Germany nearly 100,000 e-cargo bikes are sold every year and in France around 50,000. The UK managed only 2,000 sales for commercial use in 2020, but sales are expected to grow by 60% this year, with market size set to increase15-fold within the next five years. European sales are also expected to increase by 50% year on year, reaching an estimated total by 2030 of a million cargo bikes for commercial use and a million more for families to enjoy.
Climate News Network 25th Aug 2021 read more »