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International Cargo Bike Festival 2017

The use of bicycles and

The use of bicycles and tricycles for goods delivery is growing in Europe and the United States, largely for environmental reasons and often aided by public policy. In Rio de Janeiro, goods delivery by cargo bike is already a thriving practice, with thousands of deliveries made every day, with no incentive from public policy or consumer preference for environmentally-friendly practices. As the number of motorized vehicles in Brazilian cities increases, freight distribution in urban centers is becoming more challenging. Larger volumes of motorized vehicle travel have led to increased traffic congestion, and negatively impacted the environment and public health. In addition, commercial establishments are constantly reducing the size of their stocks (usually due to the rising cost of space), necessitating more frequent deliveries of stocks, and thus increasing the number of delivery vehicles and trips. Cycle logistics have a long tradition in Rio, as evidenced by an article in the newspaper Jornal dos Esportes (Sports Journal 1935) reporting on cargo bike race of cycle delivery vehicles that was organized in 1935. Another newspaper article (Jornal do brasil, 1971) reports that many cargo tricycles were used by businesses in the city center, and that these establishments reduce their delivery costs by up to 80% with these vehicles. Observation suggests that the use of cycle logistics may have increased, at least in Copacabana, since the 1980s, and local bicycle counts showed that around 35% of all trips by bicycle in City Center and South Zone (Touristic Area) are made for delivery or services provision. To clarify this, a survey was carried out in Copacabana neighbourhood, where researchers identified 372 establishments that used cargo bikes. These establishments included: pharmacies, bakeries, hardware stores, restaurants, dry cleaners, supermarkets, beverage distributors, pet shops among others – including kiosks, bars, independent goods movers, mattress stores, delicatessens, electronics repair shops, automotive parts distributors, and florists. All told, these businesses used 732 cargo bikes, of which 40% were regular bicycles, 30% cargo bicycles and 30% tricycles that provide 658 direct jobs for cyclists in the neighborhood. On average, the commercial establishments consulted had two bicycles or tricycles, two full-time cyclists making a minumun of 31 deliveries each. These cyclists made an average of 11,541 deliveries per day, only in Copacabana. 24

Most of the businesses (about 75%) made deliveries in an area of under 3 kilometers, with the remaining 25% delivering in areas up to 8 kilometers from the establishment. Cargo bikes have been an excellent choice for the delivery of goods over short distances and should be further integrated into the busy streets of Rio de Janeiro and in cities throughout Brazil. The high number of trips made by bicycles and cargo tricycles in Rio de Janeiro provide significant benefits in terms of emissions of greenhouse gases, urban space, and economic activity. Due to these benefits, government in Brazil (federal, state, and municipal) should increase support for infrastructure and campaigns to improve road safety and comfort for cyclists, and new urban areas should have urban design characteristics that encourage cycling and cycle-logistics, but that has not happened so far. However, some civil society organizations plan to make cycle logistics and the benefits it brings to urban areas more visible. These organization plan to make the most of the Velo-City Rio 2018 in terms of elevating the profile of Rio’s thriving system of cycle logistics. Ze Lobo is a lifetime bicycle user and enthusiast, Founder of Transporte Ativo (Active Transportation) a Brazilian NGO that promotes all kind of bicycle uses including logistics and services, aiming to reach more people on bikes for any purpose, anywhere, anytime. He was awarded with the Cycling Visionary Awards in Vienna 2013 for a research on bicycle logistics in Rio de Janeiro. 25

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