Pedal Me, the London e-bike passenger and cargo service, has calculated that its fleet’s average moving speed in central London is at least 2mph faster than motor vehicles. The firm points out that this advantage is before further routing and parking efficiencies are taken into account.
Pedal Me collected GPS data from 37 bikes in September 2020 between the hours of 7am and 7pm. This worked out at approximately 19,000 km ridden.
In central London, the average speed of the bikes was 15 km/h and in inner London, it was 16.4 km/h.
Transport for London reports that in 2018, the general traffic speeds in London during these hours were 11.4 km/h in central London and 18.7 km/h in inner London.
Regarding the second of those, Pedal Me points out that that congestion levels outside the city centre were reported to be significantly worse this year than last after the first lockdown.
It adds that with continued investment in cycling infrastructure, the balance is only likely to shift further towards bikes and e-bikes.
Moving speeds are also only one part of the equation.
Pedal Me highlights the fact that in dense urban areas, e-cargo bikes do not need to waste time finding parking spaces.
Drivers of motor vehicles are likely to walk greater distances to make deliveries and they tend to rack up parking fines.
We analysed ~19,000 km of GPS data from our cargo bikes. Our average moving speed in central london was 15kmh. That's 3.5kmh faster than traffic speeds in 2018. Note that congestion this year was up 153% compared to last year so likely even faster..— Pedal Me (@pedalmeapp) November 24, 2020
E-cargo bikes can also take shorter routes. Open Street Maps analysis of Pedal Me jobs undertaken in September revealed that the bike trips were 6% shorter than the equivalent motor vehicle trips would have been.
When looking at trips that were shorter than 5km, the journeys were on average 8% shorter with 25% of trips at least 10% shorter in terms of distance.
A common criticism of the use of e-cargo bikes for logistics is one of capacity.
Pedal Me bikes can carry up to 150kg, with trailers adding in an additional 150kg, but the firm also highlights how splitting larger loads can often result in reduced delivery time and distance through more efficient routing.
The smaller capacity of cargo bikes (in terms of weight and volume) mean deliveries are distributed between more vehicles. This can result in globally more efficient routes and often require fewer hours overall to be completed (e.g. 2 bikes x 4h < 1 van x 9h). 6/🧵 pic.twitter.com/D9M9HKb6oq— Pedal Me (@pedalmeapp) November 24, 2020