People must be at the heart of our city and transport planning if we want to create more sustainable communities.
So, we were delighted to see organisations in the running for this year’s Ashden Awards stepping up at a time when many of us are now in self-isolation. There are over 1.5m individuals classified by the NHS as vulnerable, and millions more older people who may need to self-isolate for even longer.
Some will have families and friends that can deliver food and medicine to them, but unfortunately many do not. In the last few days, the government has drafted in the military to help supermarkets and councils get supplies out.
Demand for deliveries is high, and one option that could help, especially in our cities, is the e-cargobike. These electric bikes that have been modified to have big containers to hold food and other goods are a safe, healthy way to get food and medicine to those that need it most.
Pre-Corona virus, their use has been growing rapidly as businesses look for zero emissions delivery solutions that can travel through congested streets faster than a diesel van. During the current lockdown, business-to-business delivery has reduced and the bikes and their riders are available for work.
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e-cargobikes.com, who are a in the running for a 2020 Ashden Award have capacity to deliver 1400 tonnes of groceries a week, enough to keep 46,000 isolated Londoners supplied with vital food and medicine. They have insulated containers and can deliver chilled food and medicines.
Zedify, an Ashden finalist from 2019, who operate e-cargobikes in 9 cities around the UK also have capacity in several locations.
Local councils are beginning to realise their potential – one London Borough is looking to start delivering 6000 food parcels per week. Delivery by two wheels is most suitable for dense urban areas – it may make sense to use e-cargo bikes to free up limited van capacity working in our cities. Those vans can then deliver to self-isolated suburban and rural households instead.
Clare Elwes, co-founder of e-cargobikes.com said “We have nearly 50 bikes ready to help deliver vital food and medicine, and are raring to go”. As government planners figure out the best ways to help self-isolating households, we hope that e-cargo bikes can play a big role.