Last year, a report from the BBC suggested that cargo bikes really are everywhere, as a rapidly urbanizing world tries to figure out the challenge of moving goods around the Globe's dense, not-so-drivable cities.
Now a report from The Guardian seems to back that claim up, looking at the rapid growth of cargo bike delivery services in cities and towns across the UK. Encouragingly, The Guardian report seems to suggest that this is less about token "green credentials" for many bike delivery customers, and more about bikes simply being the best tool for the job when it comes to the last few miles of delivery:
While local companies enjoy the green cachet of using cargo bikes, said Keam, for bigger clients it is convenience that counts: “We’re seeing growth in parts of the British economy, retail is moving online and the number of deliveries being made is going through the roof. But there’s no road space for that to happen. The only way you can grow urban economies is by changing the way you manage logistics in a city.”
It is also, I think, validation for the idea that we should stop or reduce our pandering to car drivers in our urban centers. While the initial knee-jerk reaction from businesses and residents alike appears to be nerves and outrage, whenever pedestrianization or traffic restrictions are imposed, the rise of the cargo bike shows something that free market conservatives have been banging on about for years: Markets will innovate new solutions to adapt to new conditions.
Given the awful death toll of our automotive addiction, this is a trend that shouldn't just be celebrated—but actively encouraged. Whether it's by raising the tax on gas, making cities more bike friendly or getting serious about providing government support to these human-powered economic engines, there's much more to be done to get cargo bikes into the mainstream.
Still, things are pedaling in the right direction.