Observing the custom of postal delivery by bicycle-mounted carriers for An Post in two different Ireland cities last week (Ennis and Killarney) had me wondering why in the world this is not a more common method of delivery here in the United States and elsewhere. I have to admit, these were the first two times I ever recall seeing mail carriers on bicycle. Granted, I have not been all over the planet, but I have been to enough nations for lengthy enough periods of time where I would have had the opportunity to see such an enterprise before.
Apparently, there are only three places in our country that are served by United State Postal Service (USPS) bicycle mail delivery – Sun City, Arizona; St. Petersburg, Florida; and Miami Beach, Florida. Heaven knows there are literally hundreds of other communities around this country where bicycles make more sense than using cars, vans, or trucks from both an economic and logistical standpoint. Here in Michigan, Mackinaw Island alone makes great sense for such an endeavor (at least eight months out of the year). It is surprising (and quite disappointing) that using bicycles for mail delivery has not been pursued more aggressively as an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective way of reducing costs and promoting good health.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, big-time kudos go out to New Zealand Post for being champions of bicycle mail delivery. According to a recent web article from Examiner.com, nearly 80 percent of all post carriers (a.k.a. “posties”) in New Zealand deliver the mail by bicycle! That is a staggering and very impressive number, my friends. Why is it New Zealand, Ireland, and other nations can find efficient and sustainable ways to deliver the post/mail, while so many of the rest of us seem to be stuck in neutral.