Every crises has a end to it. As the world prepares itself to tentatively resume normal activities, the big question is how do people move from A to B?
Active and Safe Travel will be critical to maintain Physical Distancing and avoid spread of infections. By no means Public Transport will function in full capacity on an immediate basis. People will intentionally keep away from jam packed trains to avoid any sort of surface contacts.
A better and proven option for personal mobility is Walking and Cycling endorsed by World Health Organization and successfully tested in cities like Berlin, Paris, New York, Milan etc.
We have already seen a surge in cycle ridership across several cities in Europe, US, Australia and New Zealand; with governments reacting with budgeted plans dedicated to set-up Pop-Up cycle ways.
The most recent country to join the green party is the UK, with it’s Transport Secretary Grant Shapps announcing an ambitious post-pandemic plan with an allocation of 2 billion pounds to boosts bicycling and walking.
As a matter of fact, a faster implementation of measures announced will help the global economy to get back on track.
Despite all the positives, however, in reality many countries have still not shown the trust and conviction towards Active Travel. A large part of the world is still uncertain and clueless about its post Covid-19 Transportation Strategy.
A possibility is that countries might rush to open its economy without a proper Transport Plan. This will have a massive impact on health and further delay the recovery.
Prime Minster of UK, Boris Johnson fittingly said “This should be a New Golden Age for Cycling”.
We must, therefore make the most of the positive sentiments and escalate into a widespread public awareness campaign so that more countries give priority to Active Travel.
This is the best chance we have to Switch On with Cycling.
So, whether it is pushing the authorities to provide us with interim facilities or giving us a permanent solution of safe cycle networks in the near future, the time to ask for it is now!
To keep the momentum going, I have created a few communication messages in a 60 seconds video and image formats which are free for use.
You are welcome to download and spread the message.
Let us not lose the positive effects our environment has gained during lockdown, let us #SwitchOnWithCycling.
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Author: Vijay Malhotra, Mumbai