Can Cargo Bikes Replace Trucks and Minivans?

Is the adoption of cargo bikes the next step in America's evolution towards a European model of bikeability?
October 31, 2012, 8am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Already popular in emerging economies and European cities such as Copenhagen, where an estimated 30,000 such bikes ply the streets, Caitlin Zacharias looks at the attraction, and potential obstacles, to the increasing use of cargo bicycles in the United States. 

Owing partly to entrepreneurs, cargo bikes are already "growing in popularity in the U.S. says Zacharias. "NPR," for example, "reported that while most cargo bikes are imported from Europe or China, domestic manufacturers are on the rise."

"The majority of cargo bike customers, however," observes Zacharias, "are those simply looking to haul groceries or children. Cheaper than cars, SUBs (sport utility bikes) offer a promising alternative to our beloved SUVs. Buc Syski of Kasper's Cargos, which distributes cargo bikes throughout the East Coast, cites rising gas prices, improvements to cargo bike technology and cultural shifts among the reasons he sees for their rise in popularity."

The high cost of cargo bikes, which can reach well into the four-digits at the top end, and safety concerns, "especially among parents transporting children," may provide an obstacle to their wider market penetration.  

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Published on Tuesday, October 30, 2012 in Next American City
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