Take up cycling?

Those who use public transport might have an alternative

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Will the lockdown encourage more cyclists?

By Joe Harker

Now that more people are able to return to work during the coronavirus lockdown, eyes turn towards how to actually get to and from work.

Those who can drive and do so for their commute will, but many who rely on public transport are finding themselves in more difficulty.

The capacity for public transport has dropped significantly due to the need to follow social distancing, meaning many who rely on buses and trains for their commute have to put themselves at risk and may not be able to board the transport.

The Claim:

One of the potential alternatives is cycling, a healthier commuting solution than public transport yet still viable for many workplaces which are too far to conveniently walk to.

Millions of Brits have taken up or rediscovered cycling as an ideal way to get around during lockdown, able to make commutes and journeys which public transport would otherwise have covered.

The government has launched a £2 billion funding package for travel methods such as walking and cycling, with money made available for towns and cities to install cycle routes.

Prime minister Boris Johnson said it was going to be a "golden age for cycling" and British Cycling chief Julie Harrington said now was a good time to move towards healthier, more environmentally friendly methods of transport.

If enough people decide to stick with cycling then it could promote healthier lifestyles and eco-friendly travel. If better habits are developed during the lockdown and stick afterwards it could be a surprise positive.

The Counter Claim:

However, it will require significant changes to towns and cities before many more cyclists find their methods of travel are viable or not.

Plenty of areas have little to no provision for cyclists and share the road with cars, while there might not be much space for a massive uptick in bikes.

Cyclists are worried that their safety will be compromised on Britain's roads. Without new cycle lanes and wider roads they will be squeezing themselves between cars, buses and pedestrians and at risk of injury.

Britain's roads are still highly tailored towards cars, with cycle lanes often lasting for only a very short distance before cyclists have to go back to dodging cars.

If you want more people to take up cycling then you need to make it more convenient. Proper cycle lanes would go a long way towards getting more people into cycling.

The Facts:

Bike retailers in the UK have seen their sales explode as more people have turned to cycling to sort their commuting issues.

However, not all the interest in procuring a bike has been legal. Bike theft has risen by 50 per cent since the lockdown so if you do take up cycling remember to lock your bike up and keep it in a safe place when not using it.

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