Major delivery company UPS has adopted cargobikes in Toronto but you have to feel sorry for the delivery personnel.
The selected bike is 2.8m long and 1.2m wide. Without packages, the bike weighs 217kg and has a payload capacity of 408kg. That is quite an impressive amount of leg muscle that is required to propel that weight: hopefully, there are not too many hills!
While Toronto mayor John Tory celebrated UPS taking this step towards environmentally sustainable delivery methods, local regulations prevent the use of electric assistance in Cargobikes. As Aylin Lusi, VP of Public Affairs for UPS in Canada confirmed “The current pedal-powered model is the first step toward what we hope will become a viable model for urban deliveries. Our goal is to test deliveries with e-assist bicycles; however, provincial regulations limit the ability to do so today. We hope to work with the government to explore new ways to bring efficient and sustainable delivery solutions to our communities.”
Mayor Tory nevertheless responded, “UPS has a significant presence in Toronto and with innovative solutions like more deliveries being made by bike, this is a step forward in the right direction for courier companies working with the city on easing congestion.”
Depending on the size of the packages, the bike can hold up to 50 parcels. Safety features include a lockable, rear cargo door which opens 90 degrees to eliminate the obstruction of view for traffic around the bike, headlights, tail lights, turn signals, side markers and hazard lights. The lights are powered by a solar panel on the roof. The bike is equipped with adjustable side-view mirrors and a polycarbonate safety windscreen with a windscreen wiper.
“The cargo bike joins a growing alternative fuel and advanced technology fleet,” says Craig Rayner, vice president of automotive, UPS Canada. “We have over 2,880 delivery vehicles, tractors, and shifters in Canada, more than 40 percent of which operate with alternative fuel.”
Let us hope that the regulatory authorities soon allow electric assist on cargobikes and that the adoption by UPS (and others) grows to represent a significant percentage of those 2,880 vehicles, whatever type of fuel they may be using.
We wrote back in 2015 about DHL’s cargobikes in the Netherlands – while their drivers were a bit more exposed to the weather, at least they had electric assist!