70% of participants in electric cargo bike try-before-you-buy scheme to buy their own

A try-before-you-buy scheme for cargo bicycles run by the Limerick Cycling Campaign has had immediate interest and a continuous waiting list, according to Anne Cronin, project lead and vice chair of the Limerick Cycling Campaign.

The project is funded by +CityxChange, a smart city project granted funding by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme. Limerick city is classed as one of two “Lighthouse City” with the aim of dramatically reducing the carbon footprint of urban cities.

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Cronin made a presentation on the scheme today at the first day of the two-day Society Research Group Annual Symposium 2023 which is being hosted for the first time in Ireland at Trinity College Dublin.

“Trialling before buying is crucial – participants took on average one week to get used to handling the bike, another to feel confident and by week three – didn’t want to give it back,” said Cronin.

She said “People love looking at and touching electic cargo bikes” which she called “feel-good machines” but said that secure and easily accessible parking — both at home and in the city centre — can be problematic and safer infrastructure to cycle on is also needed.

Another takeaway point is that electric-cargo bike usefulness is wider than just for families with young children and the bicycles also need to be aimed at businesses and community groups.

Participants of the scheme travelled an average of 223 km over 3 weeks. They said that they saved from €25 per week to €250 over the three-week trial period with one saying “more savings in time than in monetary terms”.

In a case study provided in the presentation, one participant, Ailbhe, said: “The e-cargo bike share project was just what we needed as a family to make the investment and purchase our own. We use the cargo bike daily now for school and pre-school runs.”

She added: “We also take it out on the weekends to go to the Milk Market, playgrounds, drop offs to hobbies/ sports training, etc. It has transformed the way we get around the city.”

The EU-funded scheme in Limerick ends in October and the campaign are looking at way of extending the try-before-you-buy offering for longer than that including possibly developing a partnership with a social enterprise or the local authority to continue it.

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