Cargo bike
Image credit: Creative Commons WorkCycles

Cargo bikes can deliver faster than vans, according to a Transport for London trial which could spark a green makeover for goods transportation in the capital.

Faster and Greener

Pedal Me, who offer delivery and taxi cycle services in Central London, trialed deliveries from Wood Green to a Crossrail construction site in Whitechapel.

Not only were they quicker, but the service boasts 90% lower CO2 emissions than even electric vans, including carbon generated in the manufacture of the bikes.

With TfL identifying a 20% increase in the movement of goods vehicles in London since 2010, a solution which improves air quality, eases congestion and lowers road danger is clearly needed.

Caroline Russell, Green Party of England and Wales Member of the London Assembly, has welcomed Pedal Me’s success, saying cargo bike deliveries make “perfect sense”.

She said:

Cargo bikes are so much faster and more efficient than vans for delivering goods (and people) around the city, especially for the last five miles.

We need to reduce traffic, eliminate road danger and clean up our air in London, and this is a smart solution.

Lorries and vans now make up around a fifth of the capital’s traffic.

Scaling up

Though other logistics companies have experimented with cargo bikes, this trial signals cycling options are being taken seriously by London authorities.

Benjamin Knowles, founder and CEO of Pedal Me, says the startup is “scaling up as fast as we can to cope with demand”.

He added:

This week we’re collecting 15 new bikes – taking our fleet from 17 bikes to 32, continuing our growth from 2 bikes at start of trading 20 months ago.

When people try our service they love it.

The support from TfL marks a change in policy, after Boris Johnson said in 2013 that there would be no further cargo bike trials, following research into them in 2009.

He blamed cargo bikes’ failure to cut costs or improve service for the decision.

But a trial of bike deliveries in London’s Square Mile over Christmas 2018 proved popular, while courier firm UPS also ran a two-month trial of partly cycle-based deliveries in the city last year.