Royally Stupid? Brits Dump Bicycle Mail Delivery, While London Says Yes to Bixi


Photos via Pashley.

Perhaps the folks at the Royal Mail Service failed to read the reports - cycling workers are healthier, and lose fewer work days than their counterparts that don't bike. So why, you would wonder, has Royal Mail decided to phase out 25,000 bikes (and thus the automatic exercise of 25,000 workers), and switch to motorized vans and four-wheeled trolleys (hand-pulled as well as battery-driven) to deliver the mail? Faster mail delivery is the only reason given. Ever heard of electric-motor retrofitting? One up side - all of those sturdy, lovely Pashley postal bikes with the wonderful mail bags and front bins will end up flooding the marketplace. The switch from bikes to vans and trolleys will start in the towns of Cambridge, Lincoln, Durham, and Plymouth. Back in March when Royal Mail first announced its intentions, Cambridge's Green party councillor Margaret Wright was reported to have said:

"These proposals are almost unbelievable. The Royal Mail should be taking Cambridge as an example to be followed in other congested cities. Reduction in carbon emissions depends on a united effort from all sectors of society and all enterprises. Royal Mail is failing to take its responsibility seriously in this respect."

Meanwhile, also in Britain, unmistakable signs of bike renaissance:

Waitrose, one of the UK's top supermarkets, has started bike delivery in Poole, Dorset.

In London, a campaign is launching to make certain portions of the congested inner city car-free. Koy Thompson of the London Cycling Campaign told the Guardian:

"If there is any city in Britain where living carfree could really take off, it is London, particularly central London. Many don't own a car, for others it is a burdensome habit, and for most cycling is the fastest, cheapest, most convenient option."

And lastly, London announced a bit earlier this month that it had chosen Montreal's Bixi as the style basis for its upcoming bike share program, to be introduced in 2010.

Read lots more about bike commuting at TreeHugger
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Tags: Biking | London | United Kingdom | Urban Life

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