Western Morning News

Many positives to take from all this


COVID-19 is a horrific disease, one that has already taken our friends, parents and devastated the lives of many others. Personally, I cannot wait until the confinemen­t and social distancing rules are relaxed.

However, there are some positives to come our of the current situation – one of which is cycling; my main form of transport has become far safer. Despite the fact that the police are reporting an average of 37mph in some 20mph areas in the UK, the volume of drivers on the roads has dropped massively.

Usually I collect my family’s shopping on a normal bike, making a few trips out to various shops. But during this period of confinemen­t I am using my cargo bike and doing it all in one trip.

Bar the odd look from pedestrian­s, as cargo bikes are still unusual over here, I am not being bullied by drivers whilst cycling around.

Before lockdown, some drivers used to pull up close behind and rev their engines if they couldn’t pass safely, passing far too closely when overtaking, sometimes into oncoming traffic. None of this is happening currently, as the traffic has reduced by 70%. It is blissful being able to cycle around without being worried about impatient drivers who can be only a hair’s width away from injuring or killing me or my family.

I am not the only person to notice this, I’ve read one piece in a local paper in Scotland, by a journalist who has written an article called ‘Lockdown proves life – and our cities – are better without cars.’

She is right, not only are the roads safer because there are fewer drivers, the drop in pollution is noticeable.

There is a nasty connection between air pollution and Covid19, both affect people’s respirator­y systems; people who’ve had their respirator­y system weakened by air pollution are more vulnerable to

Covid-19, let alone asthma and other diseases.

Finally, transport is the largest polluting and CO2 emitting sector in Devon and the UK.

We’ve had a wonderful taste of a safer, quieter life (on Exeter Quay we are being woken by birdsong) with cleaner air and clear skies.

The tragedy that is this Covid-19 pandemic will be dwarfed by the following climate crisis unless we change our ways.

Another positive from this pandemic is that we’re witnessing our society accepting radical change for the better, because we are all aligning behind the government’s proposals and policy.

Adhering to the confinemen­t and social distancing rules, the younger generation­s are stopping the spread of Covid-19 to save older generation­s as best they can.

Now we can return that favour and try and save as much of the planet as we can, so we can retain a habitable environmen­t for the next generation and their children.

Caspar Hughes Exeter

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