A fleet of electric cargo bikes are being rolled out in Westminster, as a pilot project to see if they encourage local people to switch from motor vehicles for moving modest amounts of parcels. The bikes are being supplied by the bike hire firm, Beryl, who already provide the same bikes in Hackney, and the scheme is being managed by Westminster Council as a pilot trial.

(c) Westminster City Council

Fitted with an electric-assist motor for extra power, the bikes are designed for transporting small to medium loads in a sealed container on the front of the bike.

I tried out the Hackney version when it launched, and it’s a surprisingly easy bike to ride after a few moments of unease if unfamiliar with them. Unlike some of the cargo bike hire schemes elsewhere in London, you don’t need to go on a training course before using these bikes, and they’re open to the general public as well as businesses to use.

The cargo bikes cost £1.50 to unlock, and 10p per minute thereafter. You also need to return the bike to one of four parking spots that have been set up to house the cargo bikes, so they can’t be treated like dockless bikes that can be dumped anywhere people want to block pavements.

The four initial cargo bike hire locations are in Pimlico, Edgware Road, and two in Maida Vale.

You need to download a smartphone app to unlock the bikes from here.

Launched initially as a six-month pilot, the scheme will be monitored and reviewed by Westminster City Council and Beryl.

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