Alternative transport These are the problems facing freight bike riders in Bonn

Bonn · Freight bicycles are extremely practical. But in Bonn it is not easy to get around on the bulky vehicles. The Wissenschaftsladen Bonn explains the problems.

Viel Holz: Bei den Lastenräder sind viele nachhaltige Materialien verarbeitet worden.

Viel Holz: Bei den Lastenräder sind viele nachhaltige Materialien verarbeitet worden.

Foto: Horst Müller

Protection of the environment and the climate has become an important concern for many people. Those wanting to travel in an environmentally friendly way can swap their car for a bicycle. However, this often fails when it comes to transporting larger or bulky items. But there is a solution to this problem: the freight bicycle.

For two years, eight groups built their own freight bicycles as part of the “VeloWerft” project. At the same time, the Wissenschaftsladen Bonn examined the problems facing users of freight bicycles in the city and developed recommended actions for the municipality.

“The project is about saving as many car kilometres as possible,” says Raphael Holland, member of the “VeloWerft” management team. Therefore the bicycles had to be developed for everyday use, and this took a lot of planning.

The result is eight real eye-catchers: with two or three wheels and a large load area, usually equipped with an electric motor, the bicycles immediately attract attention in the city. “We are showing other people what you can do with bikes,” says Holland. For example, the frames are made of wood. “We wanted to use sustainable materials as far as possible,” says Florian Wieczorek, who helped to build one of the bikes.

What are the problems for users?

The Wissenschaftsladen (Wila), in cooperation with a student from Bonn University who is carrying out research for her bachelor thesis, conducted a survey to find out what obstacles can arise during use.

This showed that several problems could face freight bike users in everyday life. The bikes need space, often too much space. There are not enough parking places and things can get cramped while underway: for example, the areas reserved for bikes in front of traffic lights are usually too short for freight bikes.

Wila is therefore recommending the city of Bonn provide better bicycle infrastructure to promote the use of freight bikes. Wider and safer cycle paths would have to be built and more parking places created. Action must also be stepped up against those parked illegally on bike paths. The rental of freight bikes, similar to the existing Nextbike system, should also be examined. “We want to enter into a constructive dialogue with the city to see how we can implement the recommended actions,” says Andrea Muno-Lindenau from Wila. However, there is still no concrete timetable for this.

Original text: Matthias Lorenz. Translation: kc

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