Cargo Bikes are an Energy Sufficient Solution to Urban Transport Needs

Discover the mission of Energikontor Sydost, to implement an energy sufficient approach to travel with a cargo bike instead of a car.

Cargo Bikes are an Energy Sufficient Solution to Urban Transport Needs

Energy sufficiency is energy efficiency risen to another level. It’s about having enough, but not using too much. It’s about making other choices, so we all can live within the limits of our planet’s resources.

In urban communities, around 80% of the car trips are shorter than 3-4 km. Where a normal bike or taking the bus might not be a convenient alternative, an electric cargo bike could very well do the job.

We all know that a sustainable transport system does not happen overnight, but where do we start? There is not just ONE solution for us to achieve a sustainable transport system. The first step can be to ask yourself – is this trip really necessary? If it is – what are your choices?

Our mission

As an energy agency, our mission is to support the public sector, businesses, and the citizens to make other choices, leading to an energy sufficient society. We know how important cities are in the transition and that they often act as forerunners.

In the CoBiUM project, cities have been creating awareness of cargo bikes and showing how they can work in everyday life through lending schemes aimed at residents, businesses, and municipal services. The purpose was to give potential users a chance to try riding a cargo bike for a period, providing the personal experience needed before deciding to buy one, as a cargo bike is a substantial investment.

So, what did we learn?

  • Between 20-40% of lenders tend to buy a bike within two years, according to Swedish experiences with bike libraries;
  • Benefits for the city are reduced emissions, reduced noise, and less traffic congestion;
  • The estimation made by Swedish traffic researchers show that a cargo bike saves 5 tonnes a year compared to a small truck;
  • Early adopters are important as they provide feedback to an approach, and they will also be positive ambassadors within the organisation;
  • There are many types of cargo bikes. They can have 2, 3 or even 4 wheels; have cargo on the front or in the back; design to carry people, cargo or to provide services. The type of the bike depends on the needs;
  • Infrastructure plans for bikes need to address the size of cargo bikes, for bike lanes, parking, and such.

Having an energy sufficient approach to travel means choosing to use a sustainable mean of transport such as a cargo bike instead of a car, even if the car is affordable or more convenient, hence, making an active choice to be energy sufficient.

© Energikontor Sydost

This best practice is issued from our publication Sustainable Regions in Action 2022. Read it now to discover many more best practices from FEDARENE members as well as an overview of our activities.