Cycling to the rescue

Photo by Fu Shan Un on

It’s the last day of school today for goodness knows how long but it’s not all bad. There are some benefits to this virus. For instance, there’s noticeably less traffic on the roads, especially around the school gate. I think many parents have already withdrawn their kids from school. The air smelt cleaner and fresher on our walk to school this morning. Ironically, just when it’s safe enough for kids to cycle to school, they’re no longer allowed to go.

Over the coming weeks and months, provided we’re not imprisoned in our homes, cycling will become much less treacherous because of the lack of cars. Cycling is the perfect activity because it’s health-promoting and there’s also a certain physical distance between cyclists that’s an inherent part of the activity. I can’t think of any better physical activity to engage in over the coming months. With quieter roads, it’ll be safer for all of us. Pollution-related deaths will also fall. An article in the Guardian today estimates that some “80,000-plus people die early every year due to the health consequences of inactivity” in England alone.

The coronavirus-specific paradox of a bike is that it simultaneously gets you out onto the streets, in touch with fresh air, the changing springtime climate, and other people, but it’s very rare to be in over-close proximity to others. Even at a rush-hour traffic light in a city, you can almost always stake out a metre or two of your own, away from other riders and drivers.

I am looking forward to going out cycling as a family with the kids piloting their own bikes on central Aberdeen streets. This could be our Reclaim the Streets event by accident. We have postponed the Reclaim the Streets event I was organising with the Aberdeen Cycle Forum. It was to be held in May but we’ve postponed it to either October or maybe March next year. We’re currently discussing it with the council.