10 November 2009

The Copenhagen Cargo Bike 'Car'

Cargo Bike Parking Inside a Car
Now we're talking. The City of Copenhagen's Bicycle Office launched an exciting pilot project today in the Vesterbro neighbourhood of the city.

Enter: The Cargo Bike Car.

Secure parking for four cargo bikes in the same space on the street that one car takes up. The symbolism speaks for itself. You park your cargo bike inside a car. Brilliant.

Copenhagen is cargo bike heaven. Copenhagenize.com's Flickr set - Danish Cargo Bike Culture - will attest to that. The City's Bicycle Office is keen to improve conditions for the city's cargo bike owners. The number of cargo bikes on the streets has exploded and 6% of all households in the city own at least one cargo bike. Copenhagenize.com estimates that there are roughly 30,000 cargo bikes in the city.
Christiania Bike Couple Three Generations
Actually, 25% of families with two or more children have a cargo bike and 50% of all Copenhageners with a cargo bike use it to transport children. Interestingly, only 2% of Copenhagen cyclists find cargo bikes irritating.

In addition, 22% of cargo bike owners in the city have the bike instead of a car and 24% use their cargo bike as a supplement to their car. Car ownership is also very low in Copenhagen. Only 29% of households have one.
Cargo Bike Parking Inside a Car
This cargo bike craze is positive because people are using the cargo bikes to replace cars and car trips in the city. At the same time, the development is an interesting challenge for the city's traffic planners. Including how to park them effectively. They can be tricky to get through the doorway to the back courtyard and you can't really leave them on the sidewalk like a normal bike as they take up too much space.
Copenhagen Cargo Bike Car Parking
The Mayor in charge of the Technical and Environmental Administration, Klaus Bondam, is thrilled about the project:

The many Copenhageners who invest in a cargo bike help make Copenhagen a more sustainable and liveable metropolis. We must, of course, take the cargo bikes into consideration when planning. And we do that by offering them some proper parking spots".

Here's how it works. The new cargo bike 'car' is a pilot project running for six months, after which the experiences of the users and neighbours will be evaluated, as well as the condition of the fiberglass 'cars'.

The shell is made of fiberglass and is comprised of four separate cabins, each with room for one bike. This means that four bicycles can park in the space normally taken up by one car.

The 'car' has four solar powered 'headlights' that turn on in the dark hours. In addition, a solar powered light turns on inside when one of the doors is opened. Hooks and a net are mounted on the walls of each cabin, for hanging up rain clothes and other gear.
SuperMum Extreme
During the test period, selected cargo bike owners will recieve a key for a cabin. In the long run, the idea is that cabins will be available for a parking fee, much like we now have for local car owners.

Copenhagen Cargo Bike Car Parking
The model at the top is one of two prototypes. The location for the other one is not yet decided. The current test takes place at Krusågade 24, in Vesterbro.

Baby Transport
Friends Copenstyle Three Shades of Red Long JohnCopenhagen Cyclists


andreacasalotti said...


Do you have a source for all the figures in your report? I have to make a presentation next week on the future of the tricycles industry next week.



Melbourne Cyclist said...

Awesome! I love this! And I want one! Well, thousands actually, but I'll start with one :-)

dyrlægen said...

saw this in the design centre, very cool.
also, love the new title logo!

(but... independent, surely..)

LGV said...

that's a realy good idea and you are lucky to have a realy active town hall (i don't realy know how to say in english) and it's a very good way to show to cars how much space they stole us in cities...

Erik Sandblom said...

andreacasalotti, the numbers are in the Copenhagen Bicycle Account 2008 (PDF).

txell said...

cool initiative! it reminds me that http://www.bigloo.es

missy mookins said...

"Interestingly, only 2% of Copenhagen cyclists find cargo bikes irritating."

Huh??? Did you think it would be more? Do Copenhageners generally find cargo bikes irritating?
As someone who is desperately trying to convince her husband that "no, I don't need a new car, I just need a £2000 bike" the thought that I might be irritating to laid back, socially progressive Copenhagen folks is slightly worrying ;)

anna said...

Awesome, but I would rather not have more of these metallic monsters (i.e. cars) see in the streets -- even if they are used for cargo bike parking ;-).

raymonster said...

i'm searching for a second hand Sorte Jernhest that i can customize... does anybody know a danish website where people sell second hand bikes?


Greetings from holland,

Mikael said...

too bad, one of my neighbours just sold her sorte jernhest...

try www.dba.dk - that's the main second-hand stuff website. search for sorte jernhest or ladcykel

raymonster said...

great, thanks michael!

William said...

@Missy Mookins, it's sensible to expect that some would be annoyed with the cargo bikes. The bikelanes are, in places, only wide enough to accomodate one of these, with no chance of overtaking. Also, they are commonly among the slowest bike on the lane. (not unlike an SUV in a city of narrow streets).

Considering that a lot people, everywhere in the world, are idiots, it's surprising that no more than two percent find them irritating.

@Raymonster: A new Sorte Jernhest (with no accessories) sell for 12000 DKR. The oldest resale on DBA.dk is from 2002, and is on sale for 8500.
Considering you'd want it shipped, I'd recommend you spring 50% extra, and get a bike that's not so worn down. (considering a 66% depreciation over 7 years, a 14 year old bike would cost you 5.000, which is still a lot. Better to score the resale value from a new vehicle)

drooderfiets said...

This is a great idea. Will the space used by the shelter will be paid by the bike's owners at the same price a car driver pays when he parks his car in the city?

Mikael said...

the fee is not yet determined. it'll be cheaper than car parking permits, that's for sure.