Currently, countries around the world are trying to stop the spread of the new corona-virus pneumonia (COVID-19) . Public Transport operations have been reduced in many cities because of the quarantine, reduced passenger numbers and health concerns. While these measures are essential for controlling the spread of the new corona-virus, they also make it more difficult for urban residents to travel, for example to purchase necessities or to take care of their loved ones. For medical staff, the difficulty of ensuring normal travel is more acute than usual.
Across the globe, there are signs that people are using bicycles to fill the gap because they are a flexible and reliable travel option. A surge in bicycle traffic can be seen on the roads of many cities, including China, Germany, Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Cycling increased by more than 150 per cent during the outbreak of the COVID-19 in Philadelphia, US. In addition to opening emergency bike path, some cities have made it possible for health care workers to travel on shared or electric bikes for free.
The COVID-19 outbreak provides an opportunity for city leaders to reflect on the past and reconstruct the future, and the crisis should prompt bicycles to become an integral part of the city’s transportation system. Cities need to be more resilient and travel more rationally, not just to cope with current difficulties, but to prepare for future crises
During the lock down, bicycles became a resilient mode of travel
Wuhan, China, was the first city to experience COVID-19. During the two-month lock down, volunteers used bicycles to deliver supplies to residents quarantined at home. While some bike-sharing companies have stepped up disinfection efforts and provided their own travel services free of charge for medical workers and citizens in urgent need.
According to the database of Meituan Shared bikes, Meituan bikes provided about 2.3 million trips in Wuhan between January 23 and March 12, accounting for more than half of all non-walking trips in the city during the epidemic. A total of 286,000 people used the service, covering a total distance of more than 3.25 million kilometers, equivalent to 81 trips around the equator. At the same time, the distance covered by a single bike ride increased by 10 percent, suggesting that more residents are relying on bikes for long-distance travel.
Similar trends are evident in other cities around the world. In early March, demand for CitiBike, New York City’s bike-sharing service, rose 67 percent compared with the same period last year. The use of bike-sharing systems in Chicago and Philadelphia nearly doubled in March from the same period last year. Traffic on one of Philadelphia’s main bike lanes increased by 470 percent. Special guidelines for new cyclists have been issued in London ahead of the closure of all non-essential shops and transport services. Bicycle shops in Dublin, Ireland, are doing better than ever. In France, e-bike sales in Paris have surged by two to three times since traffic restrictions were restored in mid-April. In addition, bicycle sales in Spain were up more than 22 times in May from a year earlier, while those in Italy and the UK were up about four times, and the figures continue to grow. Good ebikes can not separated from ebike batteries. SmartPropel is a professional lithium battery manufacturer for e-bikes,ithas more than 100 types of lithium battery products and also supports OEM and customized services. There is an urgent need for ebike batteries accompany with the growing develop of Ebike.
In response to the spread of COVID-19, some cities are building new temporary or permanent bike infrastructure. The Paris government is encouraging people to cycle, building more than 1,000 kilometers of bike lanes and offering subsidies of up to 400 euros for e-bikes. The Colombian capital, Bogota, is trying to open its 35-kilometer bicycle network around the clock, which normally only bans car use on Sundays.New York City has teamed up with a private bike operator to offer free e-bikes to health care workers.
In response to a public petition from cyclists and pedestrians, the US city of Philadelphia has closed seven kilometers of motorised roads to create more safe Spaces for pedestrians and cyclists. The Mexican capital Mexico City has proposed a temporary bicycle infrastructure of more than 120 kilometers to reduce the risks of taking public transportation while keeping the city of more than 21 million people running. Berlin, Germany, recently installed 1.6 kilometers of temporary bike lanes on a major road and plans to join 133 other German cities in promoting infrastructure that can be installed quickly. Similar measures were taken in Auckland, New Zealand, Minneapolis, Denver and Louisville in the United States, and in Vancouver and Calgary in Canada. The U.S. city of New York has promised to add nearly 1.6 kilometers of temporarily segregated bike lanes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and to try to shut down motorized traffic on the roads.
In critical times, bicycles provided a vital lifeline for many cities. It is also a resilient form of transport that will continue to provide cities with benefits beyond travel in the future.
Better Bicycle Systems could support the economic recovery from the epidemic
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the global economy is severe and likely to worsen. Many governments are considering large-scale infrastructure projects to boost employment and economic activity. From an environmental, public health and economic perspective, post-coVID-19 reconstruction should avoid retracing the path of traditional fossil energy projects and infrastructure. Investing in bike infrastructure — such as new protected bike lanes, bike parking facilities, and encouraging bike-sharing programs — is a win-win-win investment that can slow climate change, reduce air pollution, improve human health, and help economic recovery.
Research has shown that cycling reduces carbon dioxide emissions by 250g per kilometer, making bicycles a key option for low-carbon transport. In The Danish capital of Copenhagen, for example, bike riders can reduce carbon emissions by 20,000 tons per year, equivalent to more than 80 million kilometers of private cars.
With the easing of social isolation, bicycle use can also effectively stimulate economic activity in streets and business districts as people increasingly patronize shops, cafes and restaurants. Research shows that cyclists contribute three times as much to local consumption as drivers, and retail sales are positively correlated with bicycle infrastructure.
Cycling improves public health and quality of life
Cycling can improve the air quality in cities and is good for everyone’s health. Regular cyclists who enjoyed the benefits of continuous exercise were 40 per cent less likely to develop cancer, 40 per cent less likely to die prematurely and more than 50 per cent less likely to develop heart disease. One study showed that the risk of death from COVID-19 increased by 15 per cent in areas with high levels of air pollution, possibly due to the deterioration of lung health caused by living with air pollution for a long time. Cycling reduces local air pollution and increases physical activity, thereby improving an individual’s immunity to disease.
Satellite photos of Italy 2017-2019/03/ 25-04/25
Satellite photos of Italy 2020/03/25-04/25
Bicycle infrastructure can help cities be more resilient to future risks
Bicycles have become the key to people’s normal life and work in the context of economy and limited traffic. During power outages, natural disasters or other disruptions to urban transport systems, cycling significantly increases the likelihood of travel and provides 15 times as much service as walking.
Hug a bicycle, turn “danger” into “opportunity”
The Netherlands is one of the most successful countries in cycling culture in the world. A quarter of all travel in the country is by bike, and there are more than 37,000 kilometers of bike lanes, more bikes than people. The Netherlands is also one of the safest countries for cycling, with just 1.1 deaths per 100m km of cycling each year (compared with 5.8 in the US).
Such a good environment is not innate. In the 1970s, in response to the road safety crisis — especially for children — and the oil embargo, the Dutch government introduced car-free days on Sundays in 1973, thereby reassessing the relationship between urban development and cars.
A more recent example is the use of bicycles in the 2017 Mexico City earthquake, proving once again that bicycles are a resilient and reliable means of transportation. With thousands of buildings destroyed and many roads inaccessible to motor vehicles, Mexico City has relied heavily on private and Shared bicycles to transport emergency workers, volunteers and supplies.
Covid-19 is another crisis that challenges cities around the world to think about how transportation networks can change. Now is the time for cities to experiment, and streets are the testing ground for change.Today’s cordon off of coVID-19 could reveal travel plans with far-reaching implications for cities of the future, pointing the way to more resilient, accessible and safer urban transport. A city where more people ride is a city with healthier people, safer streets, cleaner air and better connectivity.