With the London Underground operating a reduced service to tackle the spread of Covid-19, an online service has launched to give advice and encouragement on cycling in the capital.
It’s been run by London Cycling Campaign who has developed a chatbot on Facebook Messenger to provide advice for people who want to cycle for essential journeys for the first time, as well as those returning to cycling, and people who cycle already but need additional help or information during these unprecedented times.
As well as FAQs, the London Cycling Campaign, a registered charity, will have staff and volunteers on hand to advise people through live chat, phone and email; on basic cycle skills, locking and parking bikes, safe route planning, where to buy bikes and gear and cycling safely in traffic, including near HGVs and lorries.
The free service comes as the charity says it expects there may be an increase in the number of people choosing to cycle over the coming weeks.
New York witnessed a surge in people cycling to avoid crowded trains and Bogotá introduced an additional 100km of 24hr emergency cycleways to reduce close contact and promote safe, essential journeys.
In Germany this week, the Health Minister advised people to avoid public transport and to ‘go by bike or foot’.
Dr Ashok Sinha, Chief Executive of the London Cycling Campaign said: ‘As the coronavirus outbreak in London is unfolding so quickly it’s important to stay up to date with the latest advice, but it is likely that cycling will play its part in helping London’s journey through this crisis.
‘People, including key workers, who have to make essential journeys throughout this time, may be looking to avoid public transport and cycle instead for essential journeys.
‘We want to do everything possible to make sure those who need to move around are able to do so in the safest possible way.’