England rub shoulders with political leaders
at an event over the weekend.
(Photo: European Cyclists Federation)
Portland has made lots of headlines in the past few years for our growing crop of cargo bike based businesses; but all the exciting momentum is coming from the grassroots and from individual entrepreneurs. Ironically, the most energy-efficient mode of urban freight delivery is being ignored by state and federal programs designed specifically to reduce emissions.
In Europe however — where a pervasive car culture doesn’t cloud political thinking quite as much as is does here in the states — leaders are moving forward with programs that support the development of a bike-based urban freight delivery industry. According to the European Cyclists Federation, over 30 companies from across Europe came together in Cambridge, England over the weekend to form a cargo bike lobby under the rubric of the “European Cycle Logistics Federation”. Their aim is to, “improve urban delivery and act as a lobby group to promote cycle based delivery solutions.”
“Any changes that we can put in place to allow freight to be carried by bike have to be worthwhile.”
— Julian Huppert , Member of Parliament for Cambridge (UK)
The founder of a bike delivery company in Cambridge who was part of the weekend meeting told the ECF that, “As a group we will be able to influence and convince stakeholders that freight bikes are a feasible option for delivering cargo in congested inner city areas. More cargo bikes delivering goods means less trucks in city centres and safer, liveable streets for people.”
The event was also endorsed by British politicians. One Member of Parliament from Cambridge said, “Any changes that we can put in place to allow freight to be carried by bike have to be worthwhile. This idea has the potential to take vehicles off our roads, easing congestion and cutting carbon emissions.”
Reading through the ECF’s press release it was very easy to imagine this type of event happening in Portland. The only thing we’re missing is the official buy-in from government and politicians. Several months ago, a few cargo bike enthusiasts rallied together to form TRANSPORTLand, a group led by enthusiasts and local business owners who have many of the same goals and beliefs as the new European cargo bike lobby. The group has a website and has held several events, from regularly scheduled “Cargo Bike Roll Calls” to pedaling together in a parade during the Rose Festival, and of course the wildly successful Disaster Relief Trials.
With some official funding and more buy-in from local, state, and national politicians, Portland could lead America toward a new era in (nearly) emissions-free, bike-based urban freight delivery services.
— Learn more about our flourishing local cargo bike scene at the upcoming Cargo Bike Roll Call event hosted by TRANSPORTLand on July 19th at the Hopworks Bike Bar on N Williams Ave.