Why people in Cork should embrace the cargo bike over the car

Why people in Cork should embrace the cargo bike over the car
Cork mother Orla Burke said cargo bikes, which are commonplace in other European cities, has significantly reduced journy times compared to a car. Pic: iStock

A Cork mother has switched from walking to cargo biking because of how unsafe the footpaths and roads are.

Orla Burke, who is a member of the Irish Pedestrian Network, says her experience as a pedestrian in Cork made her consider getting a cargo bike.

"I was six months pregnant, with a small child. It got to the point where I just couldn't walk around Cork city with a buggy anymore."

Orla previously told The Echo about how she encounters many obstacles on the path, from parked cars to bins. "I was walking out onto the road just to avoid them."

Orla also lives with chronic pain. She says walking long distances on paths in "poor condition" was taking its toll.

"It can be physically demanding for me to get places, so I needed an alternative."

Orla's partner has a car but needed it for work. 

"I didn't want to buy a second car. It would only contribute to emissions. The cost of insurance, tax, upkeep and parking would be too much."

She considered the bus but worried that her buggy would take up space for someone who uses a wheelchair. 

"I'd have to get off the bus if someone with a wheelchair gets on, which is only fair. My buggy is difficult to fold, especially on a packed bus, while also managing two children."

Orla wanted a sustainable mode of transport. "The cargo bike was perfect. I went with an electric model because of my pain condition... it helps with the hills."

"The bike has pedal assist. I push down and the bikes pushes me further."

Orla says a journey that used to take her 30 minutes walking now only takes her eight minutes. "And I'm not even sweating," she jokes.

"I know what time I'll arrive. With a car, you can be stuck in traffic for ages.

She can also fit her children on the cargo bike. "Cycling isn't inherently unsafe. I haven't had any problems with cars or the roads. I don't weave or break red lights."

"It's opened up the city so much more. I call my bike 'the freedom wagon'. It changes everything... I think of where my next adventure will be."

"There's a peace with cycling. People think it is scary, but it fills me with joy."

More in this section

Sponsored Content