The merger of two UK industry bodies, the Bicycle Association and the UK Cycle Logistics Federation, strengthens the industry’s voice at a key moment for cycle logistics, a clean technology with huge potential to decarbonise urban transport.
What is cycle logistics?
A new generation of electrically-assisted cargo bike technology is enabling businesses worldwide to substitute motor vehicle deliveries with clean, city-friendly cycles.
Specially designed cycles with two, three or four wheels and modest electrical assistance can safely carry loads up to 250 kg or more, cutting congestion, pollution and CO2 emissions by replacing vans and providing valuable local green jobs for riders and operators.
Major logistics carriers have already embraced cycle logistics, especially for ‘last mile’ deliveries in city centres where larger vehicles are restricted. Cargo cycles have also been taken up as affordable, congestion-busting transport by numerous small companies, tradespeople and service providers.
Research commissioned by the BA has shown that up to 30% of delivery and services van journeys in cities could be replaced by cargo cycles. The sector has already expanded rapidly across Europe, and BA data suggests that cargo bikes sales, and deployment of cycle logistics, are also accelerating rapidly in the UK.
Today’s announcement that the UK Cycle Logistics Federation has merged with the Bicycle Association marks a move into the mainstream for this fast-growing industry. As a relatively small trade body with 13 members, the UKCLF was limited in the resources it could bring to bear.
The organisation it’s now joining forces with, the Bicycle Association (BA), is the trade body for the whole UK cycle industry, with 140+ member companies spanning manufacturers, distributors, retailers and service providers – among them many already active in the cargo cycles sector.
Former UKCLF members will become BA member companies, and will work together with other companies already in BA membership on projects to grow the market.
What does it mean?
As part of the national trade association, the cycle logistics sector will engage with Government and other stakeholders with a considerably higher profile.
Already, local authorities and central Government are looking at how best to boost cycle logistics to help meet congestion, air quality and decarbonisation targets. The Bicycle Association, with its subject matter expertise and representation strengthened by this merger, is engaging actively to help shape these discussions, providing constructive input on the proportionate regulation of cycle logistics to ensure public safety and harmonious integration with other road users.
For example, the trade association could help drive key building blocks for the scale-up of the sector, including accredited training programmes, and Codes of Conduct for cycle logistics riders and operators. The industry will also look at commissioning further research and developing guidance for local authorities.
Companies not already involved in this cross-industry work are invited to join the Bicycle Association.
“A timely move for cycle logistics and the whole UK cycling industry”
Steve Garidis, Executive Director of the Bicycle Association, said:
“This is a timely move for cycle logistics in the UK, as well as for the wider UK cycle industry. As the UK, and countries across the world, start to decarbonise transport and transform the quality of life in cities through active travel, our industry has a hugely important role to play.
By merging with the UKCLF, the BA can better represent this key sector. We can’t wait to combine the specialist expertise of our new and existing members to champion this high-tech, eco-friendly sector of our industry and help it grow to its full potential.”
Richard Armitage of Manchester Bikes and founding Director of the UKCLF, said:
“This is great news for a rapidly growing section of the cycling industry. We need to rapidly scale up the decarbonisation of last mile logistics. Cargo bikes and cycle logistics operations can make an essential contribution to meeting UK and global carbon emission reduction targets.”