Positive Effects Of the Pandemic: Increased Use Of Bicycles

The pandemic forced us to change our lifestyle. The increased use of bicycles is great for our well-being.

Man riding a bicycle on a street

There is an increase in the use of bicycles, which is not only good for human well-being, but also for environmental well-being. Photo: Unsplash

LatinAmerican Post | Vanesa López Romero

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Leer en español: Cambios positivos tras la pandemia: aumento del uso de bicicletas

The COVID-19 pandemic has created small and big changes in our lifestyle and in the world as we know it. But not all these changes are necessarily bad, in fact, the use of masks not only protects us from COVID-19, but also from other infections and even from air pollution, which by the way is increasing. The way in which we transport ourselves is changing. For example, there is an increase in the use of bicycles, which is not only good for human well-being, but also for environmental well-being.

Bicycles are trending

For those people who usually move around using public transportation, using it again after the quarantines could turn into martyrdom. Traffic jams, rush hour or walking became minor problems compared to the fear of contagion. It should be noted that according to a study carried out by the University of Cambridge and the University of Los Andes, public transportation is not a source of contagion if biosafety measures such as the use of a mask and social distancing are complied with. However, in practice, it is evident that social distancing becomes impossible to comply with and, in that order of ideas, the protocols are left aside.

Also read: Eco-anxiety: How to Cope with a Scary Future?

The use of applications to move around the city in private vehicles is an option, but since it is a private service, costs increase, which makes it unprofitable to change public transport for private transport rented from an application.

Therefore, for those who do not have access to a car, the bicycle has become their best ally. According to the WHO , the bicycle is "a sustainable, simple, affordable, reliable, clean and ecological means of transport that contributes to environmental management, benefits health and currently, in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the safest means of transport to avoid transmission. "

According to a recent report by the Association of Brands and Bicycles of Spain (AMBE), the sale of bicycles increased by 24% in 2020 compared to the previous 4 years. Electric bicycles are the best-selling bikes, showing that there is a clear inclination towards comfort.

In Latin America, we have also seen an increase in bicycle users and in policies that promote the use of this vehicle as transport within the city. For example, in Bogotá, the capital of Colombia, where an infrastructure plan was started to implement more bicycle lanes throughout the city, in April 2020, 360,000 daily bicycle trips were registered. By December of the same year, the figure reached about 650,000 trips, that is, there was an 80% increase in bicycle use. This led Bogotá to be known today as the urban cycling capital of Latin America.

Why should you also opt for a bicycle?

As we already mentioned, the bicycle is the best option if you want to avoid the probability of contagion posed by public transport. But not only can it prevent us from getting COVID-19, it has a positive impact on human health. Constant exercise is necessary, but often the time for exercise is sparse, so we begin to put aside the fact that our body needs to exercise to stay healthy. If you opt for the bicycle as a means of transport within the city, you will be exercising when you go, for example, to your work, or when you meet your family or friends.

But in times like the ones we are living in, we should not only care about human well-being, but also about the environment, which in the long run ends up being in favor of human well-being. By using a bicycle you will be greatly reducing your carbon footprint, that is, you will generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions and you will contribute to building a city and a much more responsible society with the planet that we have.