Fears grow of post-lockdown congestion crisis, bike industry called on to lobby now

As the UK contemplates how the lockdown will ease, it seems highly likely that there will be a level of nervousness around returning to public transport and crowded train carriages. Fears are growing that public transport users will instead opt for the car, pushing an already crowded road infrastructure closer to its limits and increasing congestion across the board.

Nations like France have effectively given commuters a ‘free bike repair’ option through grants to be used in bike workshops, while closer to home calls for ‘emergency infrastructure’ such as temporary bike lanes are ramping up as the topic hits national headlines.

The Bicycle Association has now sent a template email/letter for its members to send to local authorities and MPs to act. The BA said: “As local employers and contributors to the economy, your voice counts. Please consider doing all you can to get this message out.”

Cycling UK has a tool allowing individuals to reach local councillors and council leaders.

Parliament.uk has a tool where you can find your local MP.

The BA added: “It looks like we’ll soon be moving to a new phase in the UK response to coronavirus. Before we do, there’s a short window of opportunity to set in place a step-change to more cycle-friendly towns and cities.

“Local authorities should be implementing ‘emergency infrastructure’ for cycling and walking: for safety against the virus – so we can social distance (cycling in particular will be a necessity to avoid crowding public transport); for safety on the road: so cyclists – particularly new and returning cyclists – feel that cycling is a safe option; and longer term for a cleaner, healthier ‘new normal’ transport environment.

“Numerous countries and cities worldwide are already moving fast on this, but in the UK very few local authorities have acted. The BA and other cycling organisations are urgently lobbying Government to show leadership and to encourage local authorities to implement such emergency infrastructure changes, but the official response so far is that this is primarily an issue for local authorities.”

There’s further reading on temporary cycle infrastructure here.