Skip to Content
Streetsblog California home
Streetsblog California home
Log In
Streetsblog USA

UPS to Test E-Bike Deliveries in Seattle

Photo: UPS

Get ready for UPS in the bike lane — in a good way, finally. The global shipping company is testing out special e-bike cargo delivery in downtown Seattle and near the Pike Place Market.

The pilot program will use a specially made detachable trailer that can hold up to 400 pounds, using a bike that will powered by both pedals and electricity.

In a news release, the company said it is pursuing the experiment for both for sustainability and business reasons. Bike delivery is aimed at helping achieve climate goals and also reducing "dwell time" — idling in traffic — a nod to the efficiency of bike lanes, especially in crowded urban areas.

"It’s exciting to return to our roots – UPS started in Seattle in 1907 as a bicycle messenger company," Scott Phillippi, UPS’s senior director of maintenance and engineering, international operations said in the statement.

The University of Washington and UPS will study the pilot to determine if it is worth continuing and expanding to other neighborhoods.

Cargo delivery by e-bike is common in Europe, but still pretty novel in the United States. However, in the last two years UPS has also operated e-bike delivery service in Portland and Pittsburgh, where it is still operational. Expansion to a new city suggests that the company's early experiments in the U.S. have been encouraging.

Moving from vans to e-bikes could help UPS be more bike friendly in one key way. The company is notorious for parking its vans in bike lanes in New York, Denver and around the country. In 2015, a New York City cyclist named Alex Bell sued the company to try to "annoy" them into compliance with the laws, but it remains a problem.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog California

Register Your Bike. It’s Easy, It’s Free, and It Helps Everyone

Bike Index, a free national bike registry, just launched an iOS app to make it even easier

May 23, 2024

No Driver, Mo’ Problems: Advocates Demand AV Regulations

And federal probes into self-driving vehicles after crashes and fires are not making a great case for the future of autonomous vehicles.

May 23, 2024

Thursday’s Headlines

Newsom's budget proposal puts corporate profits over people; Big deadline tomorrow; Transit agencies need lots of new maintenance workers; More

May 23, 2024
See all posts