A surge in biking following the coronavirus outbreak in New York City
Here is an unexpected consequence of the coronavirus epidemic in New York City.
Biking on the rise in NYC
Why is coronavirus encouraging New Yorkers to bike?
An unexpected consequence of the coronavirus epidemic in New York: bikes are becoming popular again. Faced with thousands of confirmed cases in the United States, the mayor Bill de Blasio has outlined a series of actions to take to prevent the epidemic from spreading. The number of bikes crossing the bridges connecting Brooklyn and Queens to Manhattan increased by 50% compared to March 2019. And this trend doesn’t seem to involve only those who already have a bike. Citi Bike, the city’s main supplier of self-service bikes, has announced that in comparison to the same period last year, rides using its bikes have increased by 67%. While these statistics can also be explained by the mild temperatures in March 2020 and a growing number of self-service bikes, the epidemic seems to have been an important trigger.
The day after Bill de Blasio’s press conference encouraging biking to work, 7,178 cyclists took the Williamsburg bridge compared to 5,192 one week before, which represents a 38% increase. But some New Yorkers have used this situation to point out the lack of safety measures and provisions for cyclists in the city. The city’s transport service announced that it’s considering granting exclusive access to bikes on roads usually reserved for cars. To facilitate this new traffic, the city is also working with cyclist associations to organize group rides.
How to prevent the virus
As there is no vaccine, the WHO has stressed the need for citizens to take collective action and use at-home prevention methods. Several countries have stay-at-home orders or advisories in place including New York; it is extremely important to follow them. Other known prevention methods include rigorously and frequently washing hands, using hand sanitizer if soap is unavailable, disinfecting any and all surfaces, and preparing medicine and food supplies in case of infection.
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