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Cargo bike share is on the charge

Electric assisted cargo bike share schemes seem to have hit the sweet spot as people re-think the need to invest in bulky SUVs to move stuff.

Around the world, bike share schemes that make available e-cargo bikes have found people eager to sign up.

E-cargo bikes are proving highly popular for the transport of purchased goods, children and even moving crates. They have plenty of storage space, and their electric motor makes it easy to transport loads of up to 100kg for local trips.

Traditional cargo bikes could do the job, but they might require a little more muscle power than many people possess.

But stick a battery in it, and all that changes.

For example, in Switzerland 15,000 people have signed up with the carvel2go platform that hires out cargo bikes.

Since 2016, the city of Basel has been cooperating with the carvelo2go initiative, with more than 2,000 people in Basel and adjoining municipalities using the service.

A total of 26 cargo bikes are available for hire at 23 host sites.

Cargo bikes can be hired by the hour or the day. Pick-up and return is arranged through "hosts," who include small businesses and post offices.

Hosts manage the keys and charge the batteries. In return, they can advertise on the cargo box and use the bike for their own purposes for 25 hours each month.

e-cargo bike
An e-cargo bike being used for an important delivery in Basel.

Research by the University of Basel found that the active users often ride bikes day-to-day and already use car-sharing services, indicating that familiarity with the principles of sharing is significant.

The study indicates ways in which e-cargo bike sharing could be made even more user-friendly: more stations, more cargo bikes at busy locations and a more flexible pick-up and return structure.

The study found that the city could help to counter safety concerns and reservations by investing more in bicycle infrastructure.

Wider, safer bike paths and special parking spots for cargo bikes would provide more room for this means of transport.

Carvelo2go was the first e-cargo bike sharing project in the world, starting out in 2015.

Since its introduction of in Basel, the number of users has strongly increased each year.

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