Go Carless. Care More!
Frank Kwanten is Head of Impact Partnerships at Soigneur. Now, more than ever, he would like to invite you to embrace active mobility.
I have not owned a car since 2017. It is great when you consider cars only as a final option. I hope that everyone might enjoy an active lifestyle. Life is better when you can walk or ride from A to B. That is why I welcome all of the public space that is being given back to cyclists and pedestrians during the corona crisis. That is why I applaud all of the calls for clean air, local living, and safer spaces, which should be permanent features of everyday life. Many cities and citizens are not wasting this crisis, but using it to create better places. It is often said that ‘if you build the infrastructure, cyclists will come’. Look at The Netherlands, where we have over 35,000 kilometres of separated bike lanes and bicycles are used for more than 25% of total trips.
Not only transportation policies and new infrastructure promise better access to active mobility. The rise of working from home and subsequent desire of car drivers to avoid having to go back to commuting suggest that change is imminent. On the other hand, public transport will have a harder time to grow or maintain its pre-corona capacity. Will these people stay at home more, start walking/ cycling, or take the car? Probably all of the above.
All of this makes it important for local authorities to not just build the hardware, but also focus on establishing better laws, institutions, and communication. How? Start campaigns and communicate. Help people out! Start riding courses, reward cyclists, better protect cyclists by law, grow the culture of cycling and walking, help people on their way.
A cultural shift is needed to increase cycling’s status. When you see more and more everyday people on bikes, rather than just the lycra brigade, that will help. Cycling should be the new standard. Cycling is not just something you do to bring about a better world. It has a daily impact on your personal life. You get to enjoy a better commute, better health, more fun, and be more connected to your environment. Those stories need to be told. People need to be inspired.
When we go back to normal, cycling should be the new normal. With great infrastructure and strong advocacy, strong laws and strong campaigns, authorities can accelerate the modal shift and give people better lives.
If you are interested in some great examples of bicycle stimulation and communication or looking for a specific campaign feel free to get in touch with Frank.