WHO endorses cycling amid COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) is encouraging those still needing to travel to ride bicycles and walk during the COVID-19 crisis.

‘’While cities around the world are introducing a broad range of measures to limit physical contacts to prevent and slow down the COVID-19 pandemic, many people might still have a need to move around cities to reach their workplaces when possible, meet essential daily needs or provide assistance to vulnerable people,” read the WHO statement.

‘’Whenever feasible, consider riding bicycles or walking: this provides physical distancing while helping to meet the minimum requirement for daily physical activity, which may be more difficult due to increased teleworking, and limited access to sport and other recreational activities.”

World cities are turning their streets over to walkers and cyclists: new temporary bike lanes are popping up. For example, in Berlin several streets have new, wide bike lanes that are created from space generally intended for motorized vehicles, Bogotá has turned 100km of traffic streets into emergency bike lanes using temporary cones, and Budapest city officials just planned a cycling network on main roads.

In the ‘’capital of Europe’’ Brussels, the entire historical city centre will be a 20km/h zone with priority for pedestrians and cyclists: the prioritization concept in the urban commuting framework is therefore gaining traction during this very difficult moment due to COVID-19. Paris and Madrid are preparing a long-term strategy and they are currently analysing how to support bicycles as the first means of transportation after the removal of lockdown measures.

Bike shops re-opened in Austria on 14th April and in Germany on 20th April, while in other countries bike repair shops kept on being available, like in Denmark, the Netherlands and the UK.

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