A fleet of electric cargo bikes and trailers is to be made available in Manchester in a new scheme the council says will offer an "affordable and green" alternative to cars. The 26 electric cargo bikes and six trailers will be for hire from February, allowing businesses and community groups to use the bikes, but also as an option for residents across the city. The bikes, which can travel at speeds of up to 15mph, are able to comfortably carry a weight of 250kg allowing people to transport cargo with ease, and help reduce reliance on motor vehicles.
The cargo trailers are being made available so that people with non-electric cycles still have the opportunity to carry larger loads without resorting to using a car.
City council leader Cllr Bev Craig said: "This is aimed at people who want to move 'things' around, so we're talking about being able to move cargo.
"Local businesses who want to get from A to B, or those who are constantly on the move, dropping stuff off as you go, you don't need to worry about parking up, you don't need to worry about your emissions, you don't need to worry about the ever changing road footprint in Manchester City Centre.
"By demonstrating that affordable and effective alternatives are available to the public we are breaking down barriers that may otherwise prevent someone making a positive change."
The bikes start at £12 per day, with up to 14 days of usage with checks made before their hire to make sure users have the appropriate level of cycling proficiency to ride.
Businesses will be able to loan the bikes for longer periods of time allowing them to find out if they would work for their business model.
The council hopes that over time this fleet, based at Chapel Street, will be at the forefront of a shift towards greener ways of transport and prove that heavy lifting doesn’t always have to require a car or small van.
The scheme has been funded by a £173,000 grant from the Energy Savings Trust, supported by the Department for Transport. Manchester Bikes, the group tasked with the operation of the scheme has launched a website - www.manchesterbikes.co.uk/cargo - where more information can be found.