German Fahrrad-Monitor 2019 Provides Data on Cargo Bike Boom

German Fahrrad-Monitor 2019 Provides Data on Cargo Bike Boom

City of Gdynia
November 21, 2019

Cargo bikes are taking their place on German roads and naturally attract a lot of attention from individuals as well as the press. The latest figures from the Fahrrad Monitor confirm this trend: every tenth person in Germany could imagine buying a private cargo bike. Two percent already use a Cargo Bike.

These results were presented by the Federal Ministry of Transport in October. Every two years, the Ministry conducts a representative survey on private bicycle use in Germany. This year, 3,053 individuals living in Germany between the ages of 14 and 69 participated. For the very first time in 2017, the Sinus Institut also collected data on cargo bike use! Already in 2019, the cargo bike boom can be traced with the comparative figures from 2017.

 Questions on cargo bikes were based on the following definition:

“The cargo bike is a bicycle used for carrying loads or children up to the age of 7. Depending on the intended use, the basket/box is located in the passenger’s field of vision or in the rear area of the bicycle. Depending on their construction, these bikes are equipped with two or more wheels”.

Good news: From 2017 to 2019, the number of surveyed individuals who had heard of cargo bikes rose from 38 to 52 percent. What is more, over the course of two years, the percentage of respondents who had already used a cargo bike rose from 1% to 2%.

Taken and translated from Fahrrad-Monitor 2019, © Copyright: Sinus Markt- und Sozialforschung GmbH, Heidelberg

The graph above shows the awareness and usage of cargo bikes according to demographics. Among the surveyed adults, it is striking that the better they know of cargo bikes the less they use them. Generally speaking, a gender discrepancy is noticeable with significantly higher awareness for cargo bikes among men (58%) than women (45%).

Purchasing potential increases from seven to ten percent

Over the past two years, the purchasing potential for cargo bikes rose from seven to ten percent! About twenty percent of participants that had already heard about cargo bikes also consider buying one. Although this figure is cut in half when one looks at the total number of respondents, a positive upwards trend is still observable. The same figure only amounted to 7% in 2017.

Almost a million prospective buyers

26% of respondents said to have definite plans or at least to be considering buying a bicycle within the next twelve months. In other words, that leaves us with almost a million potential buyers, five percent of which are most interested in buying a cargo bike (only 3% in 2017).

Taken and translated from Fahrrad-Monitor 2019, © Copyright: Sinus Markt- und Sozialforschung GmbH, Heidelberg

The number of supporters for a cargo bike rental system is even higher! Every fifth respondent (21%) is open to using a cargo bike rental system. In 2017, on the other hand, only 16% were interested in renting a cargo bike.

What influences Cargo Bike Purchases?

In short: Income, car ownership and child transport. However, the interest in buying a cargo bike is also related to whether a person is more traditionally minded or keener to discover.

Nonetheless, income is an important factor, especially when the focus shifts from “interest” to “purchase”. Even more importantly, people who own a car often do not see the need for a cargo bike. 60% of respondents stated car ownership as a reason against purchasing a cargo bike. In comparison, 34% raised concerns about cargo bike being too bulky, the lack of parking space (28%), scepticism about passenger transport (27%) and the cost (24%). All arguments have lost some importance since 2017 with the exception of car ownership. In fact, it has even increased from 56% to 60%.

On a more positive note, scepticism about transporting people and children has rapidly declined, from 43 to 27%. However, “transporting bulky items” was stated as the main reason for purchasing a cargo bike. The safety concerns of young parents when it comes to choosing a particular mode of transport should not be underestimated. This is where cargo bikes come in: Cargo bikes have the potential to convey the same feeling of safety for transporting children as the car industry does today.

While many Germans are looking at cargo bikes as greener mobility options, regulations are lacking behind current trends. Already, a renewal of the StVO (German Road Traffic Regulations) is overdue. The view of the Federal Ministry of Transport that only children up to their 7th birthday may be transported on bicycles or trailers is lagging behind the potential of bicycles for passenger transport in an ageing society. Not age itself but age-appropriate seats and load capacity should be the defining indicator for passenger transport.

This is a modified version of the original article “Fahrrad-Monitor 2019 liefert Umfragedaten zum Cargobike-Boom” published by cargobike.jetztCCCB project partner and Advisory Board Member.