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COVID-19 Has Created More Cyclists; Here’s How Cities Can Keep Them on Their Bikes – Streetsblog USA

Two researchers share what they’ve learned about what cities should do to encourage cycling — coronavirus or no.

   Source: Norma Mortenson/Creative Commons.

Source: Norma Mortenson/Creative Commons.

s physical distancing measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 begin to relax in some countries and people return to work, the fears surrounding transportation and commuting continue to weigh on the minds of many.

Once popular options like public transit and ridesharing, such as Uber, now carry the risk of potentially exposing riders to COVID-19. The Toronto Transit Commission recently reported that even if it operated at only 30 per cent of capacity, roughly 510,000 riders, passengers would not be able to keep a safe distance from each other.

Personal vehicles do allow for adequate distancing, but many cities cannot support the shift of public transit riders to cars. There is also a substantial cost-barrier associated with car ownership: parking, insurance, gas.

As a result, more people in North America are taking to cycling — and bike shops across the United States and Canada are seeing record sales and facing supply shortages.

The benefits of cycling

This recent surge in cyclists is beneficial for several reasons. From a public health perspective, cycling is a form of physical activity that can improve physical and mental health, prevent a host of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and Type 2 diabetes, and reduce burden on the health-care system. This translates into hundreds of millions of dollars saved from annual health-care costs for Canada.

But there is also a high return on investment from installing cycling networks. The increase in cyclists diverts cars from streets, resulting in reduced traffic and pollution, while increasing pedestrian and cyclist safety and property values. Overall, the benefits of investing in cycling infrastructure and increasing the number of cyclists on the road far outweigh its associated costs, with one study estimating a 400 per cent to 500 per cent return.

Read more >>> Source: Streetblog USA COVID-19 Has Created More Cyclists; Here’s How Cities Can Keep Them on Their Bikes – Streetsblog USA

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