In recent times environmental welfare is a top priority. With reports of plastic in the ocean, car emissions and global warming circulating the headlines all over the media now is the time in taking action to care for the environment. On a large industrial scale much needs to be done, with reports on countries that are amongst the highest contributors of green house gas emissions such as China, now taking preventative measures to preserve the environment this is great news for all those who care about harmful pollution. However, it can't be just a government and geographical problem.
With a massive percentage of the population battling the roads each morning to arrive on time for work, is driving really the most effective way of commuting? A study conducted by Dr David Lewis of the University of Sussex, whereby 30 commuters were measured via Electro-Dermal Response EDR when taking near identical journeys by car as a driver and by public transport as a passenger; results concluded that stress was on average 33% lower when travelling via public transport, so what is EDR you ask? EDR simply measures the change in the response of a persons skin to anxiety or stress.
Across the pond our neighbours in the US are some of the lowest bicycle consumers although bicycle commuters are on the increase since the year 2000, only approximately 1 million cyclists exist on the roads, as opposed to 204 million personal vehicles on the road on any given day. We strongly believe that with fewer cars and more cyclists on the road we'd see an increase in health and wellbeing of our workforce, but also cleaner and safer air on our streets.
Ride Don't Drive!
Cycling will not only get you to work but improve fitness, reduce CO2 emissions and provide cleaner air by reducing air pollution from cars. It is estimated that some 5000 residents in London alone die from air pollution. Whilst some debate the issue of manmade global warming, there is no dispute that pollution on city streets is causing deaths, predominately those in big cities. According to sources such as Bridget Fox "encouraging the uptake of e-bikes will help deliver a whole range of government goals, from making people healthier and more active, to reducing air pollution and CO2 emissions". Nevertheless with more active riders on streets the overall health of the population will increase, putting less stress on the NHS, and also reducing harmful emissions in big cities.
What is the government doing to increase cyclists?
The UK government has promoted cycling from the introduction of Boris bikes in London, but also with politicians and MPs such as Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn frequently pictured cycling. However what measures are in place to ensure that UK residents feel safer whilst cycling. Well, in Englands capital city two way cycle lanes are now common sites, especially around areas like embankment. The former London mayor Boris Johnson promised to develop a network of so-called super cycle highways backed by a massive £913 million investment, boasting segregated road space for the exclusive use of cyclists.
With the exception of London which has always been the patron saint of cycling, what about other regions of the UK? Research conducted by leading and renowned charity Sustrans, of whom make walking and cycling more accessible for UK communities after surveying more than 1000 people from Newcastle, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, Cardiff, Bristol and Belfast found that despite only 6% of the population commuting to work via bike a staggering 75% of people all over the nation, would like to see more money been spent on cycling infrastructure. In addition, 78% were in favour of building more protected bike lanes. Which I'm sure you will agree, is great new for us passionate cycling enthusiasts.
The research has since seen great action in force where in Manchester a massive £7.5 million was invested developing a segregated cycle lane. But is it enough? Is the prospect of cycling to work just too daunting to a vast array of commuters. Perhaps a massive turn off for commuters when cycling is the fact that once arriving to work after a morning cycle their office wear will be drenched with sweat, however it is 2018 now and ebikes are revolutionising the bike market, ensuring commuters will arrive to work in style and remain free of sweat and body odour. The most popular of all ebikes are ones that fold, "folders" as their commonly known are expensive to manufacture and can incur a huge price tag. In countries like Sweden however E-bike subsidies are a huge trend, what this essentially means is the Swedish government will subsidy individuals 25% of the cost of an e-bike.
So my proposal, should the UK take a leaf out of Swedens book? And launch an incentive for consumers to buy an ebike much like the cycle scheme that was introduced.