5 Reasons Cargo Bikes Are the Perfect Mode of Transportation
With Americans driving less and more cities encouraging people to bike, the humble cargo bike has quietly gained traction in the U.S. Parents are pedaling their kids to school in front-loading "bakfiets" (or "box bike" in Dutch), and food vendors are zipping through traffic to deliver coffee and other goodies.
And while cargo bikes provide all the benefits of traditional bikes (reducing pollution, saving money, promoting health), cargo bikes have many pluses that typical two-wheelers don't, including ...
1. They (literally) move people
Think of them as pollution-free minivans that can carry much more than groceries. These guys can haul quite the load. Two-wheeled models can have a 400 pound load capacity and three-wheeled models can have a 500 pound load capacity, meaning there's certainly room for extra riders. So throw in a toddler or two, or even take a date out for a spin as Bike Calgary vice president Dale Calkins did:
On a little date with the lovely @LisaNCalkins. #yycbike #cargobike pic.twitter.com/rSlSfOFyar
— Dale Calkins (@DaleCalkins) February 24, 2015
And, yes, you can also transport pets.
2. They are incredibly customizable
The Atlantic's CityLab recently featured this solar-powered beauty from from Durham, N.C.-based Organic Transit. Their appropriately named ELF ("Electric, Light and Fun") bike, can go up to 30 miles per hour and comes with headlights, turn signals, a roof and plenty of cargo space. You'd think with all this hardware you'd need some kind of a license, but since it's legally a bike, ELF cyclers can peddle on bike paths or lanes and in any weather, the publication noted.
Organic Transit boasts that if their ELF is used in place of a car, it could prevent up to six tons of CO2 from spewing into the atmosphere each year. "There is nothing more polluting than driving our cars each day," company founder Rob Cotter said. "As individuals, we are limited as to what we can effectively implement, but we can change how we behave. Getting out of your car and using your body along with a solar assist is the most powerful thing you can do."
The design possibilities are endless. Creative minds are transforming cargo bikes from something very practical and utilitarian into versatile art. Check out this rocket cargo bike from a London bike show ...
Here's Chris from @rocketsnrascals - we reckon he quite likes our #Rocket #Londonbikeshow #cargobike pic.twitter.com/jPkUW9cRW6
— Boxer Cycles (@BoxerCycles) February 15, 2015
... as well as this whimsical home-built bakfiet that its young riders surely love.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Cargo-Bike! via /r/aww http://t.co/gwpduUdkPi #Cute #Animals #aww #pics #Pets pic.twitter.com/wliqaN0sP7 — UPBEAT + (@upbeatstories) January 31, 2015
And while the idea of riding such a lumbering bike might make some quads tremble, this three-wheeled ride from Butchers & Bicycles can whip around turns with the speed and agility of standard cruisers.
3. Food on the go, minus the fumes
Speaking of customizable, we recently took a look at the booming food bike craze, detailing how on-the-go kitchens are selling everything from popsicles to grilled cheese sandwiches. Yes, food bikes are vulnerable to erratic weather, but at the same time, because they don't rely on gas, food bikes are of course free from harmful emissions and pollutants. In fact, for every one mile pedaled rather than driven, about one pound of CO2 is saved.
Another advantage to vendors? Cargo bikes are also immune to road congestion and can park right outside of buildings for efficient delivery. As Charlie Wicker of Trailhead Coffee Roasters in Portland told NPR, “On a bike, you’re basically impervious to traffic jams. I can calculate my delivery time down to the minute.”
4. It's another encouragement to ditch the car
National trends indicate a decline in driving thanks in part to the proliferation of transportation apps, vehicle and bike sharing programs, and cargo bikes adding to the growing list of green-transport options. As far as cost goes, cargo bikes range between $1,000 and $5,000. However, there are cheaper models from China that can be found on the market, as cargo bike owners Chris Bruntlett and Melissa Bruntlett noted on Grist. But considering how much you'd save on fuel, maintenance, taxes and insurance, the investment is really a drop in the bucket. The writers also suggested checking out peer-to-peer bike sharing site Spinlister.com to see if someone near you is renting out their cargo bike. Bike-friendly cities are also making it easier to own and park a relatively lumbering ride, such as this train station in Malmo, Sweden that has designated spots for cargo bikes.
Nihola #cargobike at impressive new Malmo train station bike park. http://t.co/ylLMAZkCwV @copenhagenize pic.twitter.com/QFgoFSrOMD
— K4RGO (@K4RGO) February 14, 2014
5. They fuel social and environmental change
Cargo bikes would definitely make your own commute much more eco-friendly, but they are also bringing positive changes to developing communities. As we previously reported, the winner of this year's Sustainia Award was Wecyclers from Lagos, Nigeria with their fleet of low-cost cargo bicycles that pick up, collect and recycle garbage in low-income neighborhoods. Their initiative also enables people in low-income communities to make money off of the unmanaged waste piling up in their streets, where overburdened municipal governments collect only 40 percent of city garbage.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
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The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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