Covid-19 encourages cycling
The bike share system in New York City, Citi Bike, is reporting a 67% surge in demand since the beginning of March, compared to the same period last year. Probably because New Yorkers want to get to work without exposing themselves to viruses on subways and buses. I wonder if Pittsburgh’s HealthyRide will see or is seeing an increase in business.
I think COVID-related biking increases in Pittsburgh will be somewhat delayed – first car traffic and parking will back up worse than usual. Then people will consider other alternatives.
I’m finding that biking on Pittsburgh’s residential streets is much nicer than usual, the past few days – my impression is that only half the normal number of cars are out on the roads!
Just look at all those downtown roads inviting cyclists!
Thinking about some cycling-related bright sides to this:
-Air quality around Pittsburgh should be improving as more and more people limit driving.
-Cycling is a great way to get a workout and to just get out of the house while keeping six feet away from others. As long as you don’t go to a crowded trail or park loop.
-Not too much else to do!
are we still allowed to ride our bikes with the new rules going into effect im going to go nuts if i cant ride
Just wondering….after Governor Wolf’s stay at home order issued today for Allegheny County, do you think it’s okay to go on a solo, recreational bike ride tomorrow?
Edit: Didn’t see Pbears similar question before I posted.
“Engaging in outdoor activity, such as walking, hiking or running if they maintain social distancing”.
The quote is from a list of allowable activities. Although not listing cycling specifically, I think cycling for exercise falls into the same category as the other activities. And riding as transportation is, well, transportation. So as long as you don’t say you’re the going to a massive party, it should be ok.
I agree that cycling for exercise, commuting, or shopping for essentials is OK in the current situation.
Social distancing is likely to be necessary for months, and we all have a responsibility to maintain our physical and mental health in the meantime. This is important for ourselves, our families and friends, and because we wouldn’t want to tie up physicians, nurses, or hospital resources for a minor problem, when these resources are likely to soon be swamped with covid-19 cases.
If I use a bike share bike, or a friend’s bike, I’ll try to disinfect the handlebars before & after use, and I’ll be cautious about doorknobs, port-a-john handles, handrails, traffic signal beg buttons, elevator buttons, ATM buttons, and avoiding people with a cough or sneeze. If you’re sick, probably best to stay home and don’t go cycling.
One can be contagious with covid-19 without symptoms, so any of us could have it and not know.
When I rode from Squirrel Hill to McKeesport then back on the GAP to cross the Hot Metal Bridge and home Tuesday afternoon although I did not count, it really seemed like I easily saw as many people riding bikes as moving cars during the trip. Trails were a steady stream of bikes and pedestrians.
I can’t recall the last time the bike moved. Maybe once since New Years. I have no idea when I might ride it again. I’m working, actually extra hours, so there is no need to travel anywhere and no time to do it.
I’m suddenly laid off with zero work to do, and all my side projects/hobbies canceled as well. Been dreaming for years about a moment where I have more time to do some proper road riding again, and it seems like this I’ve been dealt that moment. May as well go with it to stay sane. Are there any good google maps out there for 20-80 mile rides in the PGH area? I’m East End based. I know I did a lot of rides along freeport road, Fox Chapel, Red Belt stuff about 10 years ago. Those were always chill. Maybe y’all would feel like sharing your favorites?
No one wants to ride a bus right now, so cycling is certainly a better option. It usually is anyway if there is a safe route.
Make the best of it.
@aaronc84: You might check out the book “Bike Rides Out of Pittsburgh” by Oscar E. Swan. Googling pointed me to an online version of the book!
I’ve followed a few of them, loosely. Unfortunately, they’re not in map form or TCX or GPX or anything like that, but there are some good routes in there.
Another way to find routes is to go into ridewithgps.com and do a search for rides near Pittsburgh that people have uploaded. Many are junk, of course, but some are good.
The Post-Gazette printed my letter to the editor, in which I wrote about the positives of cycling during a pandemic, and what Pittsburgh could do to encourage it further. Here it is:
Cycling and covid-19
Because of covid-19, more people are cycling on the trails and roads lately. Some because they need to get to work but are reluctant to take a bus, and some because they want exercise but can’t go to a gym. People are walking more, too, often with a dog and kids.
If done right, with social distancing, such exercise is good. It’s good for us physically, reducing obesity and diabetes. It helps keep us out of the hospital. And it’s good for us mentally, relieving stress.
What should Pittsburgh do to help people get around during the pandemic? First, we should keep the aptly-named HealthyRide bikeshare system open.
Second, because our trails, bike lanes, and sidewalks are now so heavily used, it’s vital that they be well-maintained. That means we keep the trails open, and we make sure there are restrooms or port-a-johns along the trails. It means that bike lanes should be kept clean, and that the city’s plan to cancel street sweeping should be reversed (https://www.post-gazette.com/news/corona2020/2020/03/30/Pittsburgh-closes-Mount-Washington-overlooks-basketball-courts-covid-social-distancing/stories/202003300068).
And third, the city should do Open Streets every day. Pittsburgh could simultaneously support its citizens’ desire to get out and bike or walk, honor their need for more space for social distancing, and exploit the opportunity provided by streets with few cars: it should pick several streets and make them car-free all day, every day, during this pandemic. Philadelphia, New York City, and other cities are doing this (https://chi.streetsblog.org/2020/03/25/lets-respond-to-coronavirus-and-climate-change-with-car-free-streets-bus-and-bike-lanes/). Signs could remind people that this is social distancing; not a party.
With increases speeds, and windier conditions, the loose 6 foot recommended distance may not be enough. https://road.cc/content/news/how-much-distance-should-you-leave-cyclist-ahead-272229?fbclid=IwAR1rsPMRRBM9EWaDcKyJ8qC-sJg8jOQvVqxwQzpQkmaU9oYmhPsNg5mIE8Q
Although I have not seen any place addressing this issue, I feel now that people are trying to get out and walk while still practicing good physical distancing, it is increasing difficult to do so with crowded trails for even pedestrians, without even throwing cyclists into the mix. My recommendation is that cyclists make an effort to stay off crowded trails and take to the now quieter roads.
Most bike shops in the US are seeing increased business (people avoiding public transportation because of covid-19), according to this article, but most of the customers are buying inexpensive bikes, where the profits are lower, it says. I wonder if this is true in Pittsburgh, also.
The Belgian Dutch study / article is junk science… https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/v74az9/the-viral-study-about-runners-spreading-coronavirus-is-not-actually-a-study
What is more disturbing to me than the virus itself is the amount of fear mongering and misinformation being spread and the damage it is doing to peoples psyche.
And if you claimed that runners/bikers flying passed were NOT putting people at risk of contracting COVID19, that wouldn’t even be science–junk or not–as there are no studies or simulations..only hope that it’s true. And isn’t it better to err on the safe side and be open-minded, understanding, careful, sensitive, considerate and respectful.
Lack of proof is not proof of lack.
I don’t need no simulation to tell me an invisible invader may linger in the air… I often smell cigarettes or marijuana or perfume or … walking or biking along–and no one is around; so it isn’t difficult to understand why one would wonder whether something airborne can linger–and if it can linger, then it can go into my nose… and what about allergies and pollen…and my favorite: FARTS!!
And stop touching yourself.
Since I am avoiding buses and not volunteering at Kraynick’s, I’ve been going on some rather long excursions into the North Hills. On the days I ride, I notice a lot of people riding bikes in various parts of Ross Township. On Saturday, I rode from Aspinwall to CCAC North Campus. I saw quite a few cyclists on Babcock Blvd. and Perry Hwy.
It’s easier is fool people than to convince them they have been fooled. I could spend days giving you hundred of examples and that would just only scratch the surface, its endless, everything from archeology, to cosmology, to egyptology… and often removed if is doesn’t fit “the story” (people like Immanuel Velikovsky, Richard Feynman, David Bohm, Wal Thornhill, and the list goes on). While I’m not a medical professional, I am capable of critical thinking and do have over 25,000 hours of study on the psychological and physiological effects of trauma. Creating a “fear consciousness” is a very powerful tool and the bottom line is, the reaction to this virus doesn’t not match the data and that is something that needs to be questioned. Here is just a small handful of examples…
But getting back to all that cycling stuff…
Here’s an article that notes the recent steep increase in ebikes sales and goes on to describe various bike-friendly changes showing up in many cities. This correlates with changes that were induced by covid-19 measures (i.e. it got a lot of the cars out of the way so that peds and bikers could reclaim the streets).
I liked the aspirational bit: will this be enough to tip the scale against the car’s domination of the urban landscape?
There’s a bike shortage right now. If you’ve got some extra, and tbh, who among us does not, might be a good time to list on Craigslist.
Covid-19 is also boosting bike theft, it seems. By various estimates, by theft in New York City is up 30-70%.
Bike Thefts Are Up 27% in Pandemic N.Y.C.: ‘Sleep With It Next to You’
As more people are buying bikes, more bikes are being swiped from sidewalks, garages and basements. Locks are not always a deterrent.
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