Cargo bikes strike in popularity in Mechelen


Over the course of the last few years, the city of Mechelen has seen a rise in cargo bike popularity. There are many reasons for this, but one of the big factors is that since 2012, the main shopping streets in the city centre have become car-free. Over the years, this car-free zone increasingly expanded. This combined with the fact that the whole city centre became a bike zone in 2019 and that the bike infrastructure has been - and still is - undergoing big improvements, and there you have it - the perfect recipe for more cycling in the city!

Photos by AIKON

This is evident in the city, an increasing number of parents with their children are seen cycling around on all types of cargo bikes. Cargo bikes aren’t cheap, however, but when you compare the price of cars and cargo bikes you can see the difference. Travelling by cargo bike is also healthier, quicker (in the city) and just more fun! This makes a shift visible where families dispose of their (second) car and replace it with a cargo bike. For the families that are still not sure about the cargo bike, Mechelen launched a test-cargo bike that people can rent out for free for 1 week, to assess if they can manage their lives without a car. The reservations filled up extremely fast, showing that the interest in trying out cargo bikes is high!

But that’s not all: local entrepreneurs are also discovering the use and ease of cargo bikes. We can see this in the subvention scheme, three years in a row, entrepreneurs could apply for a subvention of their cargo bike to use it for their business. Now, for the 4th year in a row, due to the high demand, we have extended the subvention scheme with more applications than any other year. Due to COVID-19, entrepreneurs have had to be very flexible and lots of them made a shift towards more local operations. And for this, of course, the cargo bike is the perfect medium.

To support the habitants and entrepreneurs in Mechelen, within MOBI-MIX we are working on a shared cargo bike scheme. This means that various shared cargo bikes will be placed in and around the city centre. People can then very easily lend out a cargo bike, just like a shared e-scooter or a shared bike. For people who can’t afford a cargo bike or for people who just want to be able to use the cargo bike occasionally, this is the perfect solution. The response to this has been positive, more than 350 people proactively let us know they would be glad to be able to make use of a shared cargo bike system. Family trips, moving big objects, doing a groceries haul, delivering parcels and everything in between the cargo bike will provide it!

Keep up to date with the MOBI-MIX project and all the demonstrators, follow MOBI-MIX on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest project updates.