Cultural differences – Or how to transport goods?
Different countries, different customs. This also rings true for the loads carries by bike and sometimes also for the number of people riding it. Many things are allowed, some things are forbidden and now and then some things that don’t quite fit, are made to fit. The cultural differences are surprising.
One bike, several people
To sit on the rear bike rack is not allowed in Germany and Austria (for anyone over the age of eight). Nevertheless, people love to hop on frequently, the same counts for sitting on the bicycle frame or handlebars.
There are also rules for child seats. In Germany, child seats can be installed on the handlebar as well as at the rear of the bike, provided that the child seat has a foot rest. In Austria, children are only permitted to sit at the rear of the bike. For the bike-friendly Danes, two children under six years of age are permitted as passengers on one bike.
In comparison to those regulation, the United Kingdom goes with a more flexible point of view. There, the decision is up to everybody individually how a child is transported on a bicycle. The bicycle nation “Netherlands” has a similar way of handling this topic. Rules to and fro – what doesn’t interfere with cycling, can ride along; for example, a passenger on the rear bike rack.
This is handled pragmatically in Asia and Africa. Without infrastructure, long distances must be covered on foot. Those who have a bike tend to share it with others. In fact, there are frequently more than three people riding on one bike.
The load with a trailer
The use of trailers is managed rather unusually in Spain. Although they are approved for the transport of loads – there are a few things to note:
Trailers may only be used during the day,
visibility must not be impaired and
the total weight of the load, including the trailer itself, must not weigh more than 50% of the bike
It is a little different for bike trailers used for transporting children: They are not allowed. However, children are allowed to travel in a bike child seat until the age of seven.
Otherwise, trailers are very popular in many countries and used for all sorts of things. Whether children, dogs, the groceries or drinks crates, relocations or even Christmas trees – safely stowed, goods can be cycled from A to B. Cargo bikes are getting more popular and enjoyed by cyclists throughout Europe.
Racks, bags, baskets, boxes and much more
A front bag on the handlebars, the basket packed to capacity, the side bags are full and 2 children sit inside the trailer – this is seen again and again on European roads, but in comparison to African and Asian countries, this is still a minimal cargo. Whether in Namibia or Ghana, in Cambodia or Vietnam – the people make the most of their situation and are masters in the art of transport. Whether bananas, baskets, crates or flowers – cargo is mounted all around the bike and sometimes, the bicycle even disappears under the load. The rule in Uganda is 50 kg, sometimes up to 200 kg, far beyond the recommended load of regular bicycles. The bike can be a means of transportation and a sales stand all in one. There are many possibilities and at the end of the day, a bicycle can be used for just about everything.
Can’t do without
What‘s allowed on a bike and what’s not? What fits or needs to be made to fit? That’s a question of technology and every country has cultural differences how to handle these questions. Though the modes of transport in different cultures are so different, they all have one in common: Freedom, independence, ease of use – life on two wheels is less complicated and helps ease the stresses of everyday life.