The Belgian capital Brussels will spend €5.8 million – €4.7 million coming from EU funds – to encourage the purchase and use of cargo bikes in the capital, in order to transport both goods and passengers. This is one of 11 new Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) projects from which cities around Europe are receiving EU support to tackle challenges associated with demographic changes and air quality, or to promote the preservation of cultural heritage or circular economy models.
Vans and trucks primarily deliver goods across Brussels, but these add to pollution, congestion and noise. Conditions for drivers are also often far from desirable. Between 2015 and 2019 registrations in the city of vans under 3.5 tonnes increased by 33%, with there now being more than 81,000 vehicles registered. Even though these vans only account for 7% of the traffic they produce 18% of the pollution.
The new CAIRGO BIKE project is looking to ease the growing pressure on deliveries with a more environmentally friendly solution. Minister of the Government of the Brussels-Capital Region, Elke Van den Brandt, believes that cargo bikes can be used for the majority of deliveries in the city and for 75% of family travel. The project involves many partners across the city. The region will develop parking spaces for cargo bikes on roads and in public car parks that are managed by Parking Brussels, as well as in private car parks managed by BePark. Another project partner, Remorquable ASBL, will promote awareness and advisory activities for 60 small and large companies to increase their interest in cargo bikes.
Project partner, cargo bike logistics company Urbike, was overwhelmed with requests from businesses and municipalities during lockdown. A recent survey from the CityChangerCargoBike project found that there was a 60% increase in cargo bike sales in 2019 and even with the COVID-19 pandemic are expecting an increase of 53% for 2020. In 2019, 4% of bikes in Brussels were cargo bikes. In order to help keep these numbers up, another project partner, non-profit ProVélo are helping to launch group discounts on cargo bikes.
Outside of the project, car sharing company Cambio has confirmed that they will be adding cargo bikes to their Brussels fleet in 2021.
Original article first published 10 July 2020 by Le Soir
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