Cargo Bikes Can Do More Than Most People Think

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By Charles Pekow — The potential of cargo bikes lies largely untapped. Electric Cargo Bikes in Urban Areas: A New Mobility Option for Private Transportation says “adoption of e-cargo bikes as a valid transportation mode is still very limited worldwide. Although cycling has been pushed as a sustainable mode of travel in cities by multiple organizations and governments, cargo cycling has not been part of the conversation.”

Cargo bikes are cleaner than trucks when moving goods from one place to another, especially short distances. Photo by Dave Iltis

Electric cargo bikes can help riders carry a lot of weight, but a variety of factors are keeping use down, from cost to safety concerns to how far you can go on a charge and lack of appropriate infrastructure for riding and parking, says the study, published in Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives.

The study looked at previous research which stated that the typical cargo ebike user is young, well-to-do and male. Other demographics didn’t seem interested. Studies differed, however, in reporting the percentage of users were likely to own a car. But users generally expressed concerns about the environment as a motive for riding.

Previous studies also differed in how far riders typically went and how much time they spent on the bikes. Frequency of trips depended on the use. Few of those who used cargo bikes on a sharing system use them more than once a month. Frequency ranged for those who owned their own, just like it would for those with conventional bikes, from monthly or less to nearly daily.

See: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2590198222001658

 

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Charles Pekow
Charles Pekow is an award-winning Washington correspondent who has written about bicycling for years in publications such as the Washington Post, Bicycle Times, Dirt Rag, SPOKES, etc. as well as Cycling West/Cycling Utah. He also writes frequently on environmental issues and beer, among other topics. Weather permitting, you'll find him most weekends and some summer evenings astride a bicycle in a park. He is also a charter member of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.

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