Cycling charity Sustrans has created an online map to make cycling easier for NHS staff and other key workers amid COVID-19.
Designed to be a single repository of information, the Cycles for Key Workers map displays four different types of pins for each kind of offer, including: access to a bike; repairs and maintenance; equipment and gear; and for bike stores that remain open across the UK.
The map has a function to view and search offers and bike stores by a location name and postcode areas. Following the UK-wide lockdown, bicycle shops were one of the few retailers listed by the Government to remain open, if they wish to, to ensure transport for key workers and last-mile deliveries can be maintained.
The information resource also features links to cycling and walking tips, and other useful content.
Around 40% of the UK workforce are classed by the UK Government as key workers, including NHS employees, cleaners, carers and supermarket workers, said Sustrans.
Susie Dunham, Development Director at Sustrans, whose husband works for the NHS, said: “In the Covid-19 crisis, cycling is critical for many key workers to get to and from work each day. The online map was created with the needs of key workers in mind and we hope it will prove useful for everyone needing to cycle to work, be it an experienced commuter who may need a spare part or a novice who needs access to a cycle.
“An average commute is five miles, a distance that can be easily cycled in less than 30 minutes. It’s fantastic to see how the cycling industry has come together to support the people who are working so hard to get us through this crisis.”
The initiative is supported by the transport sector and the Department for Transport.
Walking and Cycling Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris said: “Many people who cannot work from home cycle to and from work, and it’s important we do everything we can to make their journeys easy, so they can concentrate on their essential jobs. Cycle 4 Key Workers is a great initiative which will help people find nearby cycle shops, bikes and equipment, as well as money-saving deals, so they’re able to travel during these unprecedented times.”
Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester Cycling and Walking Commissioner said: “Many of the UK’s key workers rely on public transport at a time we need them to stay safe, so it shouldn’t surprise us thousands are turning to the bicycle to get to work. I’m so pleased Sustrans, with the backing of all major bicycle organisations, came together to help turn the small acts of kindness from those in the industry, into a national movement to aid key workers. Be it for exercise or essential journeys, the bicycle is playing its part in helping us through this crisis and beyond.”
Rachel Aldred, Reader in Transport at the University of Westminster, said: “Cycling is a healthy mode of transport that can serve many such trips while being compatible with physical distancing. I’d like to see government and transport authorities doing their bit to enable safer cycling, as in Bogota where a large network of temporary cycle tracks has been quickly put in place to support essential trips.”
Key workers who want to find out about cycling related offers or need access to a bike to get to work during the pandemic can visit Cycles for Key Workers: www.sustrans.org.uk/keyworkers
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