The Finnish library rents bicycles with e-load for free

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When it comes to removing barriers to the adoption of e-bikes and cargo bikes, rental schemes and / or purchase incentives play a big role. After all, with a fixed price tag that often exceeds thousands of dollars and a form factor that many people are not familiar with, families and / or businesses require a lot to take the risk and invest in one of these machines, especially if they can’t already. or don’t want to drive without a car.

In this context, it is gratifying to see the report of the Finnish broadcaster Yle about library in the city of Joensuu, which includes electric cargo bicycles in its collection… Bicycles are in such high demand that they usually take weeks to test.

Three electric cargo bikes will be available to rent from the Vaara libraries from May 2021. Two of them are boxer bikes, ideal for transporting children, groceries, etc., and the third is a rickshaw bike for carrying a maximum of two people.

Some key points from the original report:

  • Bicycles seem to be a fairly common rental item in Finnish libraries
  • However, electric cargo bikes are unique to Joensuu.
  • Like all items that can be borrowed from the library, they are free and free, although users are responsible for any damage.
  • The bicycles were purchased through Joensuu climate change funds, not through the library’s general funds.
  • In the fall, the library will evaluate, based on user data, whether bicycles will be available for rent and how.

According to librarian Mia Oxman, demand has been consistently high for a month or so since bicycles became available. Oxman said: “It is absolutely certain that today, when the library opens, we will have a queue. And these will be people who want to take a cargo bike. When this bike was gone for a day [because of the Yle report], people have already asked about it. ”

Climate Joensuu’s website notes:

Cargo bicycles have recently become more and more popular as a lightweight and environmentally friendly means of transportation. The use of electric cargo bikes reduces the need to use the car for daily activities such as driving to the grocery store. IN
Climate Conscious Blocks project (2018–2021) purchased bicycles for the library so that everyone can try out the cargo bike.

This is an interesting idea. However, the report clearly states that both the purchase and maintenance costs of these bikes are significant. The question now is likely to be whether being able to try out a bike – without having to buy it – will result in more families and / or businesses investing in their own bike. And if so, it could prove to be a useful model for municipalities looking to reduce their dependence on cars.

To be honest, Finland has an edge over many countries. As shown the incredible Oodi Central Library in HelsinkiFinnish culture is familiar with the idea of ​​libraries not just as places to borrow books, but as non-profit public spaces that contribute to the common good. Oodi is a fascinating model of what libraries can and probably should be, from developer spaces to tool libraries.

And the Joensuu Library seems to have the same broad vision. For reference, the city of Joensuu, which has a population of about 76,000, has set a goal to be carbon neutral by 2025.

Governments are spending huge amounts of money to promote electric vehiclesYet a smaller investment in bicycles, e-bikes, cargo bikes, and other forms of micromobility may well provide a greater return on their investment. In Oslo, Norway, for example, the city gives residents a grant to buy a cargo bike… And here some interesting benefit schemes for cycling in the United Kingdom

Coming soon to the library near you?



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