April 2015

CargoBikes in Scotland

Spokes has submitted evidence about cargobikes to the Scottish Parliament ICI Committee’s Inquiry into Freight Transport in Scotland…

[Update Jan 2016: Cyclelogistics report for European cities by ECF]
[Update Aug 2015EdFoC now has an Urban Arrow cargobike available for hire]
[Update Nov 2015: The 10-year history of Outspoken bike delivery company]
[Update Dec 2015: Role of cargo-bikes in cities, by www.cleanair-europe.org]

A curious sequence of events, showing the value of seizing opportunities…

b-Spokes delivering to Rose Street, Edinburgh

b-Spokes delivering to Rose Street, Edinburgh

Late last year Spokes noticed that Edinburgh Council’s Transport Forum was to discuss freight delivery in the city.  Cycling was not mentioned on the agenda. At our suggestion a presentation by b-Spokes [pdf 2.5MB] on the potential of cargobikes was added – and it proved to be a star item at the Forum.

Noticing that the Scottish Parliament ICI Committee is currently investigating freight transport in Scotland we passed a copy of the presentation to Committee Convener Jim Eadie MSP.   Before long we received a request for written evidence on the existing and potential role of cargobikes in Scotland.

Hence our submission! [pdf 251k]

In the submission we describe…

  • Two local specialist suppliers of cargobikesLaid-Back Bikes in Edinburgh and Kinetics Bikes in Glasgow.

    Giffnock foodwaste-recycling cargobike

We list benefits of using cargo bikes for urban deliveries, including…

  • Speed of delivery – the bike can often bypass congestion, particularly where cycle lanes, cycle routes and shared spaces are available, as is increasingly common in urban areas
  • Predictable delivery times – predictability is vital for business delivery, and with its congestion-busting ability the cargo bike can give a greater assurance of guaranteed delivery times
  • Parking problems & parking tickets – these problems are largely eliminated with a cargo bike
  • Economic benefit (1) – faster and predictable delivery times are an important economic benefit
  • Economic benefit (2) – cargo bikes are far cheaper to purchase, maintain, license and drive than motor vehicles
  • Congestion reduced – by replacing motor vehicles with bikes, occupied roadspace is reduced
  • Pollution – largely eliminated
  • Noise – largely eliminated
  • Road danger – largely eliminated
    European Postbike [photo: European Cycling Federation]

    European Postbike [photo: European Cycling Federation]

We reference some great reports analysing cargobike potential…


  • Our submission (section 3) gives several ideas on how the Scottish Government could boost use of cargobikes in Scotland.   Email or speak to your MSP and ask them to follow up some of these points.
  • Would you like to see Edinburgh Council investigating use of cargobikes for its own city centre deliveries.  If so, ask your councillors to look into this and report back to you.
  • To reduce congestion in the heart of the city, could the council make use of cargo bikes for some or all deliveries, as part of a travel plan, a condition for planning permission for suitable developments?
  • Tell us any positive outcomes

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