Easing the Burden on Traffic and the Environment
by Anselm Bareis, GIZ/EUKI
EUKI project Cycleurban+ EUKI pilots the free rental of cargo bikes in three European cities: After the corresponding programmes were already launched in December in Tartu, Estonia and Bratislava, Slovakia, the Czech project partner in Brno followed suit in February and placed a new pin on the European cargo bike rental map. The Cycleurban projects try to establish bicycles as the most important means of transportation in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and other EU member states.
With the number of cars on Czech roads doubling over the past two decades, up to 15% of the yearly CO₂ emissions are now produced by motor traffic. It is only in recent years that an opposite trend has also begun to emerge: Albeit sluggishly, bikes are increasingly becoming a transport alternative in the cities. This development is being picked up in the southern Czech student city of Brno with its 380 000 inhabitants, where the first cargo bike rental service, amongst other things, is now to ease the burden on traffic and the environment.
Since 20 February, the people of Brno can rent electric cargo bikes for free to move purchases, take their children to the kindergarten or handle commercial transports instead of a car or van. With three models being available for a variety of purposes, the underlying principle is quite straightforward: “No matter whether you’re a private person or a company – everyone can lend a bike, for only a few hours or even a couple of days. All you have to do is get registered on the website www.kargopujcovnabrno.cz, and you can start renting bikes right away”, explained project coordinator Michal Šindelář from the NGO Czech Environmental Partnership Foundation.
The Czech pilot programme is scheduled to continue until mid-July, after which a conclusion will be drawn. As in Tartu and Bratislava, the users in Brno get interviewed about their experience with the cargo bikes, general mobility habits, and attitude toward climate action. This will facilitate the comparison between cities and countries and help assess the existing need for cargo bike rental services. The offer has been received surprisingly well so far: in Brno, as many as 38 users registered in the first week and booked 36 trips. When the bikes are unused, Michal takes journalists on trial trips. The bikes have sparked huge interest among the local press.
Cycleurban+ is the second “Cycleurban” project being funded under the European Climate Initiative. Please see www.cyclurban.eu/ for further details of the programme.