The Press and Journal (Inverness, Highlands, and Islands)
Cycling is great, but not for everyone
In the early days of lockdown we became accustomed to certain items on our shopping lists becoming as scarce as hen’s teeth. Toilet rolls, hand sanitiser, flour and pasta flew off the shelves, leaving many desperately hunting for supplies.
Lately an unlikely new item has been added to this inventory: bicycles.
Buying a new one has become much harder – and the wait to get one repaired ever lengthier – as more and more of us get on our bikes.
Whether purely for exercise or to get from A to B without having to don a mask and brave public transport, pedal power has rarely been so popular.
Councils are right to seek to tap into this new-found preference for two wheels – and two feet – to press home efforts to encourage alternative transport.
The benefits to our own health and that of the planet have long been recognised and this is an opportunity not to be missed permanently to change behaviours.
Of course, policy makers must not overlook the geographical factors that make car use a necessity, not a luxury, across large parts of our region – and that means these changes must not come at the expense of upgrading the road network.
But initiatives such as public bike-hire schemes, which have proved so popular elsewhere, must be worth trying in our town centres.
“However, the changes cannot be at the expense of improving the roads network for car users”