OK, I’ll admit right off the bat that I wasn’t so excited when my editors suggested I write about Whole Foods making deliveries by bike. Now affluent people who can’t be bothered to pick up their own groceries can have a slightly lower carbon impact — I mean, where’s the champagne!
But after I sat with this for a second, I decided there is reason to celebrate. Cargo-bike deliveries make a lot of sense for companies, even if they don’t care about the environment: They don’t get hung up in traffic, they don’t require parking spaces, they don’t guzzle fuel, they’re cheaper than delivery vans, they are easy to repair … The list could go on. But they are still pretty rare because, basically, change is hard.
It’s hard to insure bicycles, and worker’s compensation insurance doesn’t come bundled in the package, the way it does if you are insuring a delivery van. As Streetsblog pointed out, you need a critical mass of cargo-bike delivery people to make insurance affordable. And, when something is rare, busy managers just don’t think of it. When you say “delivery,” most people are going to think “van.”
So cheers to Whole Foods for defying the default, and leading the way toward common sense. Hope it’s a huge success, and widely replicated.