The changing face of the new daily commute
I am a cyclist as well as a driver – at least I was ! Ten long weeks ago this all changed with the Covid-19 restrictions and the need to only make essential journeys becoming the “new normal”.
In general I cycle for exercise and wellbeing. I drive for necessity, primarily work and other journeys where I travel with family or that seem not possible to do by bike.
I can walk to the village shop for a pint of milk and a loaf of bread – so that’s easy involves no effort and gets some of my daily exercise done.
The UK is not traditionally a nation of cyclists. The car and the bike do co-exist but often seem to be at odds with each other. Unlike a lot of other European cultures the bike is much maligned and so cycling is often seen as a “battleground” for space on poor road surfaces and a lack of bike only, lanes where cyclists of all ages can feel safe.
Pop-up bike lanes with protected space for cycling, wider pavements, safer junctions, and cycle and bus-only corridors will be created in England within weeks as part of a £250 million emergency active travel fund – the first stage of a £2 billion investment, as part of an new £5bn UK initiative announced in the February budget.
Government fast-tracked guidance , effective immediately, will tell councils to reallocate road space for cyclists and pedestrians. In towns and cities, many more streets will become bike and bus-only while others remain available for motorists but with lower speed limits. More side streets could be closed to through traffic, to create low-traffic neighbourhoods. Safer cleaner and greener, with a new found sense of community, this will surely be an ongoing benefit of these changes to the people who live there.
“Park and Cycle” is also being suggested in the UK as good way to combine a journey where the car is required for some of the trip but where the last few miles can be done by bike. Social distancing – staying away from public transport – daily exercise done as well as being cleaner and cheaper – sound like a “win– win” for all concerned.
Companies can support their workers buy a bike using incentive salary sacrifice schemes that make owning a bike available to many more people. Contraload participates in this scheme across many of its European locations and the use of Bikes and E-Scooters in the Belgian Head Office has been a part of daily life for a long time.
With more people cycling and walking in cleaner air on safer streets this can only have a positive effect on the future health and wellbeing of anyone who embraces this new form of the daily commute.
Get on your bikes and ride !