Cycling UK is calling on the Government actively to promote cycling and walking as a means of transport over buses, trains and tubes for essential short journeys for people who are symptom-free of COVID-19.
The charity is also calling for the UK to follow steps taken in cities such as New York and “rapidly” introduce temporary cycle facilities. This will allow symptom-free members of the public to take up cycling as a healthy and safe way to make their essential journeys.
It is also urging everyone who can to cycle their essential local journeys to help reduce demand on public transport and make it safer for critical workers.
Cycling local journeys, the charity argues, allows the rider to remain healthy while also avoiding public transport. This has the dual benefit of reducing the risks of contagion to the rider but also helps reduce the risk to key workers and others who have no choice but to use public transport.
Matt Mallinder, Cycling UK director, said: “These are extraordinary times, but sometimes the most ordinary of activities can be part of the solution we need.
“Now is the time for people to get those bikes out of their sheds and use them on those short local journeys to work or to help a vulnerable person they might normally take public transport. Do it not just for your own health but also for our frontline workers on the NHS.
“More people cycling will help reduce the demand on public transport and make social distancing easier which will hinder the spread of the virus.
“Cycling can help us all to remain healthy, boost immune systems and also lift our spirits at a time when we could all do with cheering up. Right now this is something we all need.”
The charity is also reminding people who might need essential maintenance for their bike that following latest Government advice, bike shops are still to remain open, however, customers must follow public health social distancing and hygiene advice.
“While we all want to support local business, visit your local bike shops only for essential maintenance and parts – or to buy a bike if you don’t already have one,” Mallinder added.