During the course of the last few years, the world has witnessed some astounding as well as unlikely breakthroughs in the world of healthcare.
One of the latter, which may seem unassuming at first, is the way in which cargo bikes have been proven to be innately useful – particularly during the pandemic.
For example, in the EU, the Cargo Bikes in Urban Mobility organization demonstrated how convenient – and potentially even life-saving – these bikes could be. They used cargo bikes during the pandemic to provide care for vulnerable people who had to shield for long periods of time due to the threat of contracting Covid-19. They were also used to help local restaurants make food deliveries, thereby preventing those restaurants from going out of business.
In the UK, similar success stories were heard, as cargo bikes were employed to make food deliveries to hospital staff working on the frontline, as well as making deliveries to both foodbanks and pharmacies. Cargo bikes allowed delivery drivers to remain as safe as possible while out and about, limiting their contact with other people.
However, these remarkable uses of cargo bikes in the medical world aren’t the only form of benefit that this kind of transport can bring. Read on to discover more about the various significant – and perhaps surprizing – advantages of using cargo bikes, not only for healthcare professionals but, indeed, for anyone in any kind of work.
What Are Cargo Bikes?
First things first, let’s take a look at the definition of a cargo bike, as you may be unfamiliar with these seemingly humble and unwieldy cycles.
Essentially, a cargo bike is a large cycle that contains a storage unit or flatbed to allow the rider to carry cargo of various kinds – including living cargo, in the form of beloved pets or even children. To accommodate this extra weight, cargo bikes have a longer wheelbase than regular bicycles, and are much more robust in build.
Once upon a time, cargo bikes may have been a relatively unfamiliar sight on American roads and cycle tracks, despite the fact that they have been in existence for well over a century. However, as the 21st century rolls on, they have become increasingly common as more people have realized the versatility and convenience of this form of transport. In addition, innovations such as newer electric cargo bikes have meant that riders can carry substantially more weight, without having to struggle, as the electric motor will help to power the bike, even on an incline.
As a result, people have been adopting cargo bikes as their new form of transport to work, and have also been using the bikes to make deliveries of goods or food – or vital healthcare supplie, such as vaccines and even chemo.
The Environmental Advantages
The environmental impact of our most popular forms of transport has become painfully clear in recent years, with climate change making itself known in all kinds of devastating ways across America and beyond.
As a result, many businesses and organizations are becoming increasingly concerned with their carbon footprint, and are keen to find ways to lower emissions and reduce air pollution – particularly if they live in built-up areas.
This is where cargo bikes can come into their own, as they don’t require any fuel, which means they produce significantly fewer emissions, while still being able to make deliveries faster than more ‘conventional’ forms of transport, such as delivery vans.
This form of clean, green – and efficient – transport begs the question: to what extent could towns and cities (not to mention hospitals and healthcare facilities) around the world reduce their carbon emissions if they used cargo bikes much more widely?
Another related benefit of the eco-friendly transportation provided by cargo bikes is financial. The spikes in fuel prices that have occurred in recent months – which show no sign of diminishing any time soon–made worrying dents in bank balances across the US. Cargo bikes offer a more financially viable alternative, and riders also don’t need to worry about additional costs that come with cars or trucks, such as potentially pricey repairs. Cargo bikes don’t even require a license in order for anyone to operate them, making them a more convenient option.
Cargo Bike Considerations
Of course, despite the various benefits, there are also some important things to think about before investing in a cargo bike or rolling out a cargo bike transport policy across your healthcare company for deliveries of medicine or supplies.
Perhaps the obvious downside is that cargo bikes do not afford the same levels of protection as a car or truck, as they are not enclosed, and there is always the chance that other unscrupulous road users could collide with a cargo bike.
Cargo bike owners will also need to invest in insurance for their bikes, to cover them against various risks, such as theft, accidental damage, liability, and more. After all, despite their various benefits, cargo bikes can still be involved in serious accidents which can cause injuries or damage to people and property.
Fortunately, if you or other staff members at your hospital or healthcare facility are planning to invest in cargo bikes, you can easily find specific cargo bike insurance with the help of Velosurance. There are different policies available; for example, when it comes to liability coverage, you can choose between coverage limits of $25,000; $50,000; $100,000; or even $300,000 per occurrence of an accident.
The Health Benefits Of Riding A Cargo Bike
While there is always the risk of you or a member of your healthcare team having an accident on a cargo bike, these versatile forms of transportation also bring numerous health benefits – not least an improvement of air quality, due to the fact that they don’t produce noxious emissions.
For one thing, if cargo bikes are used as form of medical delivery vehicle, they can provide easily accessible treatment to people who may find it difficult – or even dangerous – to visit a hospital or healthcare setting. So many forms of treatment or medical expertise can be provided with the aid of a cargo bike – from Covid-19 vaccinations to ‘mobile’ physiotherapy for patients who are not capable of leaving their homes with ease.
Cargo bikes can also bring mental and physical benefits for the healthcare professionals who use them. For one thing, cycling is a highly effective form of exercise in its own right. In fact it has been found to aid the body in a number of significant ways – from improving weight loss and lowering blood sugar, to reducing the risk of a number of potentially life-threatening diseases. These range from diabetes to some cancers and even cardiovascular disease.
But that’s not all; cycling (on a cargo bike, or any other form of cycle) also has some vital mental health advantages too, reducing stress levels and also lowering the risk of developing depression by 17%.
Although they have been around for decades, the humble cargo bike seems to be coming into its own, with plenty of benefits to offer the medical world – not to mention the environment. With so much going for them, it seems highly likely that more hospitals and healthcare settings around the world will begin employing these sturdy, versatile bikes for a wide range of uses – benefitting employees, patients, and the planet, all at once.