Of particular concern is last-mile urban delivery, which is the most expensive, least efficient and most impactful part of the supply chain.
“Currently we have too many large vehicles driving empty. In the U.S., empty trucks drive 20 billion miles per year, and in the U.K., 30 percent of truck journeys are empty,” said Ms. Adriazola-Steil. “If we don’t manage it, it’s going to overwhelm our urban areas.”
Kevin Mayne, chief executive of Cycling Industries Europe, a trade association, said strong regulations and initiatives, like reducing access to city centers and putting controls on polluting vehicles, had encouraged the use of cargo bikes in many European cities.
In the European Union, he said, sales are growing at a rate of around 60 percent a year. “That gives the industry in Europe confidence that the sector could grow from 2019 sales of around 100,000 bikes per year to as much as two million by 2030,” he said. In Copenhagen, 24 percent of families have cargo bikes.
Cargo bikes for personal and family use typically start at about 1,500 to 2,500 euros (just a bit more in dollars) for nonmotorized models and €2,000 to €6,000 for electrically assisted bikes. Commercial-use electric models go for about €4,000 up to €15,000, according to the trade association.
An increasing number of European cities offer cargo bike sharing and leasing programs, said Jos Sluijsmans, a cycling advocate, consultant and founder of the International Cargo Bike Festival, which draws enthusiasts from more than 40 countries.