In cities everywhere, people on bikes are clamoring for more space on the roads. Towns in the Netherlands have gone further than almost anywhere else in securing that space—but the past month has shown that even the Dutch might be struggling to keep up with the demand for bike lanes.
Utrecht broke new ground this month when the courier service DHL began using cargo bikes rather than vans to deliver its parcels, shipping them in from a depot on the city’s outskirts. It’s not a brand-new concept—European cities have numerous services like it—but DHL’s move is significant because it’s a major company switching its whole service over to a different mode in a city. At CityLab, we often talk about pioneering services being possible trendsetters for the future. With Utrecht’s plan, that future once mapped out by experimental bike couriers now seems to be arriving.