London, Cargo Bikes, Police, and Perception

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London, Cargo Bikes, Police, and Perception

A father was recently pulled over by the police while trying to take his kids to school in a perfectly roadworthy cargo bike.

traffic dad

Even though the family had been travelling this way for four years, London’s Transport Police didn’t quite know what to make of it.

traffic dad 2

Admittedly, the daughters’ helmets aren’t fitted very well, and the roads in London are polluted and dangerous at the best of times, but I still see this man as a pioneer of a more sustainable transport movement.

traffic dad 3
The father criticised the officer in question for not knowing the law, saying: ‘This policeman called me over and said “is that bike legal?” I thought “well you’re the policeman surely you should be telling me whether its legal or not”‘.

By referring to the Dutch cargo bike as a ‘rickety wheelbarrow bike’, the Daily Mail’s coverage of this incident is embarrassing because of its clear ignorance of Continental cycling culture.

The cargo bike is a brilliant and useful alternative to a car that is both cheap and environmentally friendly. Indeed, the cargo bike itself is not the problem in this situation, it is simply the poor cycling infrastructure and the speed + proximity of motor vehicles that make this man’s choice of transport questionable.

This story was also covered (more objectively) in the Evening Standard

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2 thoughts on “London, Cargo Bikes, Police, and Perception

    urkaicommunity said:
    November 26, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Reblogged this on Urkai Community and commented:
    Fascinating how the standard policeman doesn’t know that the bakfiets..nl has won awards for safety in the EU!

    Kelly said:
    November 26, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    In Oxford this mode of transport is used by so many people for the school run! Some caterers even use cargo bikes to deliver cold food to events. Before I moved here the only other place I’d seen it used was the Netherlands and I for one am glad that people in London are starting to see the many benefits. Hopefully our law enforcement will catch up soon too.

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