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Cargo bikes are becoming fashionable in parts of Germany, according to a report by The Guardian.

The bikes, which are used by parcel delivery companies for light deliveries, are also experiencing a boom in use by private citizens, for anything from groceries to small children—and are emerging as a viable alternative for commuter transport.

Electric scooters were legalised in Germany in June, and a purchase subsidy of €4,000 was introduced for electric cars after the Volkswagen emissions scandal in 2016, in an effort to reduce the country’s carbon footprint. However, according to early studies, rentable electric vehicles are still generally considered a novelty.

Cargo bikes growing in popularity in Germany

By contrast, cargo bikes—which have not received as many subsidies—are growing more popular for everyday use. Authorities in Berlin received so many applications for purchase subsidies last year (of €1,000 for electric-motor bikes and €500 for pedal-powered) that they had to draw lots.

Similar subsidies are available in 20 cities across Germany. The country is now Europe’s largest market for cargo bikes, though Denmark and the Netherlands are still ahead for per-capita use.

There is now at least one cargo bike-only parking spot in Berlin, and the government is trialling a micro-depot in the Prenzlauer Berg district that is used by couriers including DHL, DPD and UPS.

However, they have also become something of a pricey status symbol, costing anywhere between €2,000 to €5,000, with some customers shelling out even more for limited edition models.

Supporters have called for higher subsidies to help boost cargo bikes’ impact on Germany’s transport infrastructure.

Source: The Guardian

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