electrical bike UDOT touts biking and strolling to enhance household well-being, relieve site visitors congestion
SALT LAKE CITY — One of many methods the pandemic has impacted Utahns is how they select to commute and spend time exterior with household.
The variety of bicycle journeys has elevated dramatically over the previous a number of months, in response to the Utah Division of Transportation. Utahns are actually getting exterior extra and driving much less.
Mike West, a 33-year outdated married father of two younger youngsters who resides in Dawn, just lately switched to biking because the household’s major mode of transportation due to COVID-19. When the pandemic reached Utah, a pal agreed to let the West household borrow his tricycle cargo bike to see how they want it.
The Wests have an 8-year outdated son with particular wants. After seeing the enjoyment he skilled following the primary journey, they instantly determined to make it a staple for spending high quality household time collectively.
“I’m really a metropolis planner by commerce, so I’ve at all times beloved the concept of walkable, bikeable cities,” West mentioned. “Prior to now yr I began simply doing extra analysis on biking and a couple of yr in the past, I discovered that this video on YouTube that confirmed all these cargo bikes within the Netherlands and I believed it was so cool you can put a household in a motorbike and so they can bike round. I by no means even knew that existed.”
The primary time the household took a journey collectively, he mentioned they had been all hooked.
“Ever since, our children type of beloved it increasingly more, particularly my son, Jason. He’s acquired some uncommon genetic syndrome and he can’t bike himself actually. He’s acquired a motorbike, however he can’t actually go very far,” West defined. “However now that he’s on this (cargo) bike, it’s like his pleased place. He simply giggles and smiles and loves it.”
The household used their tax refund to purchase a cargo bike of their very own and biking has now turn out to be their major mode of transportation.
“It’s about being collectively as a household, but in addition simply being exterior you get extra of the sensory enter on a motorbike than you do in a automotive since you’re throughout the surroundings,” West mentioned.
“You’re feeling the wind in your hair and you may see issues, you hear the noises. We’ll be driving the bike and we are able to simply cease and take a look at the geese on the aspect of the lake proper there by our home, so that you get a number of extra interplay and engagement along with your surroundings on a motorbike than you’d in a automotive. That’s one factor about it that they love.”
He famous that since he’s needed to make money working from home a lot, having the cargo bike permits him to get out together with his spouse and children to keep away from being ‘cooped up” all day. He additionally makes use of it to run errands, and so long as the climate permits they’ll proceed to journey slightly than drive.
UDOT officers say there was an enormous rise in energetic transportation, akin to strolling and biking. Bike journeys have elevated 52% in 2020, whereas mountain climbing has greater than doubled in some standard locales, which isn’t solely having a constructive impact on site visitors congestion, but in addition on the bodily well-being of neighborhood members.
“With our Journey-wise program, we’re at all times encouraging folks to make use of energetic transportation, which is a flowery approach of claiming operating or strolling or biking to work,” mentioned UDOT spokesman John Gleason. “We’ve seen an enormous enhance within the variety of folks which are utilizing our trailheads, strolling and biking, because the starting of the pandemic. And in some cases, we’re seeing a greater than 300% enhance in use of the trailheads from final yr to this yr, which is nothing wanting unimaginable.”
He mentioned the company is encouraging extra different transportation modes to alleviate rising site visitors congestion alongside the Wasatch Entrance, and it’s additionally a technique to improve one’s thoughts and physique.
“That’s what we’re listening to from so many individuals that there’s only a few vibrant spots with the pandemic, however for those who needed to level to 1, this is able to be it,” he mentioned. “Extra folks getting out and exercising, utilizing energetic transportation with strolling and biking to get to the place they’re going, which reduces congestion on our roads and is simply nice in your well-being.”
Gleason warns these strolling and biking to put on vibrant clothes to make themselves seen to motorized automobiles, and for drivers to look out for the rising variety of folks utilizing different modes of transit.
“We’re simply asking drivers to be careful for bikers and pedestrians in locations possibly the place they wouldn’t usually see them, and for bicyclists and pedestrians to ensure that they’re seen,” he mentioned. ”Ensure that they perceive that simply because they see the automobiles doesn’t imply that the drivers of these automobiles see them. Do every thing you can to observe the foundations of the highway for each drivers and pedestrians.”