The Lord Mayor of Cork has urged retailers, especially those that deliver, to get involved in a city-wide cargo bike trial that should be up and rolling by the end of the year.
The city council is now moving ahead with the procurement of a fleet of cargo bikes that will be made available to borrow through a cargo bike library, in a bid to encourage active travel, especially in the retail and business sector but also in the wider private sector and public sector.
Cllr Joe Kavanagh said the city council wants to create a city of sustainable urban growth.
“We want to encourage sustainable travel, not only amongst residents and visitors to the city but also amongst the business sector – and there is a huge opportunity for cargo bikes in retail delivery,” he said.
The project is being funded by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s Public Service Innovation Fund, which was established in 2019, to support innovative ideas from public service bodies to promote collaboration and new and better approaches to service delivery.
Some 279 proposals were received from organisations in all sectors of the public service, including the civil service, Defence Forces, education, health and local government.
The cargo bike trial is one of 20 projects nationwide to secure funding.
It’s planned that suitable business and community groups will be offered a cargo bike for six months on a trial basis to see if they could use it on a daily basis as an alternative to less sustainable means of transport.
The council’s sustainable travel awareness officer, Frank Fitzgerald, said it’s estimated across Europe that 50% of all motorised trips that involve the transport of goods in cities could be shifted to cargo bikes and bicycles.
“The diversity of cargo bikes is astonishing. Cargo bikes take many different shapes and forms,” he said. “Besides the cyclist, they can carry goods and people of up to 250kg and can even be coupled with a trailer for extra capacity."
Members of the Cork Cycling Campaign welcomed the trial.
Chairperson Conn O'Donovan said cargo bikes are a great way to allow people to use bikes who may need to carry, deliver, collect, or drop off goods or bulky items.
“Cork city centre is a compact, low-lying area and we would be hopeful that business, community groups, social enterprises and other groups would see the many benefits of using these bikes such as lower transport costs, free parking, ease of use, and green transport,” he said.