The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent lockdowns and restrictions have changed much about daily life for people in the UK. Many people have been driving a lot less as a result of working from home, which has also seen a sharp rise in people walking as a way to get out of the house, enjoy fresh air, socialize and get some exercise.
1. Quieter Roads
Data from the National Accident Helpline reveals that there are 27% fewer private motor vehicles on the roads during the pandemic along with a drop of 68% when it comes to public transport. Interestingly, cycling is up 24% along with people heading out for a daily walk and using one of these options to get around.
2. Looking Ahead
The data also looked into what people’s habits will be like once restrictions have been lifted. The data suggests that the number of people that use a car as their main mode of transport will drop by 2.5% once restrictions have been lifted, which equates to around 970,000 cars. Walking is set to increase by 3.5% while cycling will increase by 2%.
3. Health Benefits
It is fantastic to see so many people taking to walking and cycling and planning to continue with these forms of transport on a long term basis. Walking and cycling can both be excellent forms of exercise that can improve your cardiovascular health no matter your age, plus they can also have mental health benefits – this is particularly important in a time where many are struggling.
4. Environmental Benefits
Obviously, walking and cycling are also much better for the environment than driving or public transport. In a time where environmental damage is a huge and worrying topic, it is important that people are taking action in their lives and transport is one of the best ways that they can make a positive difference.
5. Prioritizing Safety
While walking and cycling should both be encouraged and people should stick with this once restrictions have been lifted, it is important that people are aware that they are vulnerable around the roads, especially when they become busier. This is why you need to take great care and when you are cycling you should wear protective and high visibility clothing, make your intentions clear to other road users and maintain a good position in the road (in the middle of the lane).
Many people have turned to walking and cycling during the pandemic, which can bring physical, mental, financial, and environmental benefits. Hopefully, people will stick with this moving forward, but it is also important that you prioritize safety as vulnerable road users.