Behaviour change programs to ditch the second car

At Lug+Carrie, our vision is to achieve 50% fewer short car trips in Australia by 2030. With 65% of Australian households owning at least two cars, getting people to ditch their second car for an e-cargo bike is one way to get us there. But, when car ownership is so ingrained in the Australian psyche, how do you get people to undergo this behaviour change?

Behaviour change, bike-by-bike

That’s the million dollar question we’re finding the answer to through our behaviour change programs across Australia with private and public partners. Through these programs, we work with our partners to identify a specific community, such as a primary school or a business park, we then offer free or subsidised e-cargo bike trials for 4-8 weeks with the aim of getting more people to trial life by bike.

In 2021/2022, we trialled a behaviour change program in partnership with the Merri-bek City Council to get more bums on bikes. Then in 2023, we successfully rolled out the program across Australia with much more to come this year. 

Our most recent trials, in partnership with Merri-bek as well as the City of Port Phillip, have focused on increasing active travel to schools and kindergartens by giving parents a new form of transportation that is fun, easy and suitable for carrying children!

Behaviour change programs

Small steps with a big impact

More than 70 people jumped on our bikes as part of the City of Merri-bek Ride+Stride trial in 2023. We ran two separate streams, one of which gave riders a month free, the other two months at half price. Of the people that did the month free, 41% decided to keep the bike and pay for it themselves after the trial was over. In comparison, 85% of those who rode for two months at half price kept riding after the trial was over. In our partnership with the City of Port Phillip, all participants rode for a month free and we saw 36% of riders continue with the bike at their own cost following the trial. 

So, what have we learned about this behaviour change?

We humans are creatures of habit. We like to stay in our comfort zones, we’re influenced by social norms and we seek convenience. Changing our habits takes conscious effort and persistence and this is what our behaviour change trials are setting out to achieve. 

“Like anything new, the initial uptake can be slow, but as soon as parents start using the eBike for the school run, we see an uptick in signups,” says Lug+Carrie’s Thomas Treloar.  “That’s what is happening now; there are enough families enjoying the eBikes and talking about it with other families.“The children are also big advocates, often preferring the eBike to sit in traffic,” says Thomas.


“Because of the trial we really are considering being a one car family. It just made it so easy for us to get around with our daughter and not rely on a second car.” – Participant in the City of Port Phillip program.


Another Melbourne participant says, “The bike has been an absolute joy to ride, especially when it came to tackling the hills where we live that I usually struggle to manage on my normal bike. I loved being able to have the kids on the back and not need the car for outings and daily activities. It was so much fun!”

Some other things we’ve learned are:

  1. Set the right objectives – if your objective is to get more people to try the bikes, free trials can be effective. But, if people are already interested and just need a nudge, subsidies work better for long term behaviour change.
  2. It takes time for people to trial new modes of transport and to integrate them into everyday life – we tried 4-8 week programs. Would even longer programs increase their success? We’ll keep trying to find the sweet spot!
  3. Understand your audience and stay flexible – how do you reach your target audience? What are the challenges to bike riding in this community? Working closely with the council and schools/kindergartens allows us to target each program to the local community.

Are you a public or private business? We’d love to work with you!

If you’re interested in getting more people in your business or community on bikes? We’d love to work with you to tailor a program. Please reach out to Thomas Treloar –


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