May 24 2013 Latest news:
Jasmine Coleman, Senior Reporter
Friday, October 7, 2011
They are more common on the streets of Copenhagen - but cargo bikes could become a familiar sight in Hackney, a new research project revealed this week.
Residents are increasingly using adapted bicycles to carry everything from shopping to children and the contraptions could see a boom in popularity in coming years, according to Eva Martinez, Sustainable Mobilities research intern with the University of East London.
Since June, she has been introducing people around the borough to cargo bikes, collecting 166 surveys from Hackney parents, and conducting in-depth interviews.
“I think there has been a rise in popularity of cargo bikes in Hackney,” she told the Gazette. “People seemed curious and interested.”
She said many people were worried about road safety and the cost of the bikes – which range from about £700 to more than £1,000 for the traditional Danish ‘Christiania’ model – but with greater awareness there could be a big demand for them in the future.
“Even if I think there are some barriers towards a higher increase of cargo bikes use, once a gadget or style becomes fashionable there are no barriers to it becoming very popular.”
Among those already jumping into the saddle are staff at the E5 Bakehouse in Mentmore Terrace, who use a cargo bike to make deliveries.
Director Ben MacKinnon said: “Our bike is fun to ride around and it’s so much less annoying than delivering in a van where you have to sit in traffic for ages.”
And former Hackney council transport planner Alix Stredwick, who helped with UEL’s research, is setting up new social enterprise Carry Me Bikes in Lower Clapton to promote and sell the bikes.
“Cycling is pretty popular in Hackney already, and with more people staying in the borough and starting a family, I think it is a good place to be promoting cargo bikes.
“I would like to say they will become as popular as in Copenhagen but I think we’ve got a long way to go.”
What do you think?