December 08, 2020 4 min read
The cargo bike, otherwise known as the freight or utility bike, is enjoying a bit of a rebirth. Many now recognise e-cargo biking as a cleaner, safer, and more efficient mode of urban freight delivery and passenger transport. Research commissioned by the European Union concludes that 25% of all goods and 50% of all light deliveries in urban settings could be serviced by cargo bikes. Here at See.Sense, we’re all for the bicycle renaissance and we have a range of products available to keep your journey safe and bright. So here’s what we have to say about the future of cargo bikes, and how we can make cargo bikers’ journeys safer.
BENEFITS OF CARGO BIKES
We have gone through a societal shift; protecting the environment and our world as a whole has become a priority. With that, cargo bikes (and bikes in general) have taken a surge because they reduce the need for pollution and loud delivery vans. The cities and towns that we live in are less busy and much cleaner and safer.
Cargo-bikes use much less material to manufacture compared to automobiles, and are cheaper to purchase, with vast reductions in maintenance required. More cargo-bikes reduces traffic congestion, greatly decreasing logistic pressure throughout cities, whilst increasing e-commerce.
Cargo-bikes increasingly evolve cities, prompting healthier lifestyles, with higher physical activity daily from cycling, therefore increases life expectancy and reduces sick days, which in turn benefits the public health service, as people are healthier.
What’s not to love?
WHO'S JOINING THE CARGO BIKE REVOLUTION?
According to Germany's Two-wheel Industry Association (ZIV), in the last year, electrically assisted cargo bike sales have overtaken those of electric cars in Germany with 39,000 sold vs 32,000 electric cars. Amsterdam and Copenhagen are leading the cargo bike revolution, with their primary use being to move children around easily. In Amsterdam, 90% of cargo bikes are sold to parents in search of a convenient, sustainable way to transport their kids.
Fleet operators are getting in on the action too. Increasingly people prefer to conduct business with socially and environmentally conscientious companies. So, it’s in companies’ best interests to consider using cargo bikes in delivery services. Take DHL for example. In 2015, DHL introduced cargo bikes in their services as one of the best possible modes of more sustainable transport for urban deliveries.
In Edinburgh, Sustrans is operating a successful E-cargo-bike library, where businesses can loan the e-cargo bikes and try them out. There are also a number of schemes to support growth of e-cargo bikes for deliveries, such as the eCargo Bike Grant Fund in England, that has provided support for ecargo bikes used to fund green last mile deliveries.
SEE.SENSE IS HELPING CARGO FLEET OPERATORS AND CITIES WITH DATA INSIGHTS TO BETTER INFRASTRUCTURE TO SUPPORT THE FROWTH OF CARGO BIKES
The development of infrastructure for cargo-bikes is paramount, (and costs much less than that of automobile infrastructure). Cargo bikes tend to be larger, and have different needs than regular bikes, so we are excited to be partnering with Sustrans to help generate data insights to understand how people travel across cities using cargo-bikes, to help inform the design of better infrastructure.
Photo courtesy of Sustrans
Our new AIR Fleet Tracking technology provides data insights into the preferred routes, variations in speed and swerving, heavy braking, and areas which indicate high areas of dwell time, all of which will aid in the development of better infrastructure.
The trackers have been adapted to fit on cargo bike frames and will also provide the Sustrans project with bespoke data dashboards to support operational management of the fleet of bikes as well as provide data visualisation to support analysis of the data collected. MJ from Sustrans says “We are delighted to partner with See.Sense on this initiative. It means that we can now effectively monitor the use and real-time location of our e-cargo bikes more reliably and efficiently. “And we will also be able to generate data that can be used to improve the design of cycling network and cycling infrastructure across the city to accommodate the needs of its e-cargo bike riders.”
Image: See.Sense dashboard - used to monitor e-cargo bike fleets and help inform design decisions.
We’re also working with Co-Delivery in Exeter, a micro-mobility operator, to help understand the difference in patterns of usage between modes.
Photo courtesy of Co-Delivery
KEEPING YOU SAFE AND CONNECTED
Here at See.Sense, cyclist safety is our top priority, and we’ve got a few products designed to make your experience using cargo bikes as safe and convenient as possible.
We have a range of high quality bike lights to help keep you visible while on your cargo bike, and our new AIR GPS bike tracker, currently available on pre-order is a great way to help you protect against theft, and track your cargo bike in case of theft.
The future of cargo bikes is clear to see, it will increase. With environmental protection and taking care of our bodies at the forefront of our minds, cycling is a great way to make these our priorities. Why not make sure you’re extra safe and check out the products we have available?
Our fortnightly newsletter shines a light on the people, places and things making cycling better, and includes our latest news, offers and competitions.