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Pedal power: The rise of cargo bikes

Experts predict a cargo bike boom in Europe, based on the results of the first European Cargo Bike Industry Survey conducted by an EU-backed project.

Climate Change and Environment

Whether hauling parcels, groceries or children, cargo bikes have entered the spotlight in recent years as a clean alternative to delivery vans and cars, also shaking up urban transport and transforming cities. Results of a survey conducted as part of the EU-funded CityChangerCargoBike project show that the European cargo bike market will continue its growth in 2020. A market size summary on the project website states: “Survey results are based on anonymised European sales data of 38 cargo bike brands. The data shows a 60 percent increase in cargo bikes sales in 2019 and – despite the Coronavirus crisis – an expected ongoing rapid increase of 53 percent for 2020.” The first-ever European Cargo Bike Industry Survey was conducted by Cycling Industries Europe (CIE), the European Cycle Logistics Federation, Berlin-based and Cracow University of Technology. According to the survey results, sales of cargo bikes for private and commercial use are growing equally fast. The results also show that the cargo bikes with electric assist represent the majority of sales, with sales of three-wheelers growing slightly faster than two-wheelers. The survey suggests that Germany is the most important national market in Europe for 16 of the 38 respondents, while Denmark is cited four times and the Netherlands and the United Kingdom three.

Sustainable vehicles

Quoted in a press release, CIE Chief Executive Officer Kevin Mayne comments: “We have identified for some time that the cargo and delivery bike market has really high potential for the cycling industries of Europe. This survey makes me very confident that we are on the right track, with the sector doing well and a diverse range of vehicles increasingly meeting all market needs across Europe.” In the same press release, Arne Behrensen, editor of and survey coordinator, notes that “in many regions the cargo bike revolution is still in a very early stage. Decarbonizing transport, improving air quality and regaining public street space needs more political support for sustainable vehicles like cargo bikes.” The European Cargo Bike Industry Survey will be repeated in spring 2021. The CityChangerCargoBike (CityChangerCargoBike) project will finish in August 2021. The project website notes that CityChangerCargoBike builds on the success of two previous EU projects: Cyclelogistics that ran between 2011 and 2014, and CycleLogistics Ahead that ran between 2014 and 2017. The CityChangerCargoBike project “exploits the limitless potential of cargo bikes promoting their usage amongst public, private, and commercial users,” as noted on the project website. Its partners include “cities, research institutions, NGOs, and industries from all over Europe in the quest to achieve a faster, more cost-effective and larger scale deployment of this sustainable mobility option.” The project focuses on raising awareness and supporting the uptake of cargo bikes and related initiatives. It also aims to reduce traffic congestion and emissions and improve public space usage. For more information, please see: CityChangerCargoBike project website


CityChangerCargoBike, Cyclelogistics, cargo bike, European Cargo Bike Industry Survey, cycling