The turn of the traffic thanks to the Cargo bike trendy

Cargo bikes are a very strong symbol for the traffic turnaround
Environmentally friendly and trendy Does the cargo bike help traffic

In many places you can borrow them for free - and if you buy one yourself, you often get money. But why are no longer on German roads?

Klaus Obermaier doesn’t have a car - and he doesn’t need it in the city. He does the shopping and transports his daughter and her childcare friends through Nuremberg. The car is a burden rather than an enrichment in the city center."Thanks to electric drive, it effortlessly rushes past any traffic jam at speed 25. For example, it only takes a quarter of an hour to get out to F├╝rth.   You can see that this is a real means of transport, "he says. And driving is really fun - at least if the broken bike paths don’t slow him down.

Obermaier has owned the family-friendly e-cargo bike for over a year and has been using it for some time. The decisive factor in the end was a subsidy from the city of Nuremberg last year, whereby he received a grant of 1,000 euros. This year, the city has again suspended the purchase rebate. After two days, she could no longer accept applications because much more had been received than she could support. "This has a domino effect," said Friedrich Haberkern from the environmental department. If more cargo bikes are on the way in the city, this also motivates more people to change trains.

Purchase premiums for cargo wheels

According to the website, more than 60 municipalities in Germany and Austria now pay purchase fees for private and commercial cargo bikes. Among them are major cities such as Stuttgart, Cologne and Leipzig, but also many smaller cities. "Purchase fees are en Todayus," says Berlin political scientist Arne Behrensen, who runs the homepage.

Behrensen describes himself as a convinced truck driver, activist and lobbyist. "Cargo bikes are a very strong symbol for the turnaround," he says. But much more important would be federal funding equivalent to electric cars. "This saves the municipalities a lot of administrative work and is fairer, because there are the same conditions for support everywhere.

It has been a little more than a year since the Middle Franconian Erlangen was the first Bavarian municipality to declare a climate emergency. The goal is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions as much as possible, and cargo bikes should also contribute to this. "We want to get away from motorized private transport," says Hannah Thiemann, the city’s bicycle traffic expert. Since mid-June, there has therefore also been a purchase rebate in Erlangen. Nine different models are available at several locations. The largest is more like a mini-truck on two wheels, which also drives removals, "says Thiemann.

Cargo bikes on the rise

Similar to car sharing, cargo bike sharing is gaining acceptance in more and more German cities. According to Behrensen, the "Kasimir" private initiative in Cologne, which was the model for many other rental systems, for example for the "Free Truck Bike" project in Munich, was a pioneer. In the meantime, commercial and municipal providers such as in Erlangen have also been added.

So far, cargo bike sharing has been a priority for hip city dwellers, and the Bavarian Ministry of Transport wants to change that. In a model project, it is supporting seven smaller cities and municipalities with a total of two million euros to set up rental systems for cargo bikes. The deadline for applications was Wednesday - and the response was enormous: 92 municipalities have registered according to ministerial data.

The logistics professor Ralf Bogdanski has been researching the great potential of transport bikes at the Nuremberg University of Technology for several years. In 2017, he worked together with two parcel delivery companies, who delivered 80,000 parcels with e-cargo bikes instead of with transporters over several months - and continue to do so after the end of the project. Especially in areas where pedestrian zones and low average speeds slow down cars, the cargo bike has a clear advantage, says Bogdanski. They could replace up to 30 percent of the shipment volume in larger cities. "This would result in a significant reduction in traffic in Germany."

Klaus Obermaier is still enthusiastic after a year as a truck driver - but also a little disappointed. "I hardly see any cargo bikes in the cityscape," he says. "Behrensen, too, therefore sees the turnaround still far away.   We want to replace cars - en masse. There is much more to be done." dpa

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