With England’s lockdown being slowly eased, and the rest of the UK announcing similar plans, there is light at the end of the tunnel and a ‘new normal’ on the horizon.
Throughout the lockdown, travelling to work – if that work is not possible from home – has been permitted, but data from the government shows that traffic volumes dropped 73% after the lockdown was introduced in March.
The majority of Brits have worked from home for the last two months, adjusting quickly to digital tools for communicating, whilst over 8 million have been furloughed by their employer and are receiving 80% of pay. As the lockdown is eased, and more businesses reopen or see a boost in revenue, workforces and customers will gradually leave their homes and travel to offices, town centres and other cities for holidays.
Most local authorities have pre-empted the return to work and are encouraging people to walk, cycle or drive where possible. Public transport is still operational in most areas but are running on limited schedules. It’s advised to only use public transport if no other means is available.
No matter how you’ll commute and move around as the lockdown eases, here are our tips on keeping safe:
If your car has been idle for most of lockdown, it’s possible that the next time you start it up the battery could be flat. The RAC has reported that they’ve received twice as many battery-related call outs than the previous year. If you battery is flat, there are several resources for getting it up and running, including from the RAC.
To encourage the public to cycle and walk more often, councils have introduced temporary cycle lanes and pedestrianised areas to create a safe environment. Your previous route to and from work may have been affected, so be sure to check on the councils website or a navigation app before setting off.
These temporary measures will result in more cyclists and pedestrians being on the road than usual, so be sure to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and other road users.
When you need to refill your car, make sure you are wearing gloves when handling the pump and making payment.
Public transport has been widely desolate during the lockdown, with commuters and holiday-makers staying at home. Even as the country starts moving again, most will remain within their local area and find alternative methods of transport.
If public transport is your only option, check the operators schedule as most are running limited services to match the decreased demand. Although, as there is less services running, each train or bus might be busier than normal, so follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask.
It’s also advisable to book your ticket online or use contactless to minimise your exposure to cash.
The government has clearly advised that cycling and walking are the preferred method of transport for short journeys, followed by a car if necessary. Local councils too have put measures in place to increase safety for all road users. It’s likely then, that there will be a large increase in cyclists and pedestrians on the streets in the coming weeks and months. TfL has estimated that cycling in London could increase tenfold after the lockdown is lifted.
If you’re going to swap your bus for a bike, ensure that you follow the rules of the road and wear a helmet. With some drivers getting into their car for the first time in months, be wary of other road users and ensure that, even on your bike, you adhere to social distancing.
If you’re walking around your local neighbourhood or commuting to work on foot, there is expected to be more pedestrians on the pavement than pre-lockdown. In large cities, social distancing is likely to not be possible, so it’s advisable to wear a mask in crowded areas.