The situation of confinement and the need for social distancing due to COVID-19 have made the bicycle a safe mode of transport to circulate in cities. The bicycle is a mode of transport with a low risk of infection, it allows to maintain a distance from other people offering major protection of transmission and contagion. These reasons make the bicycle a great ally in this period.
The risk is that fear of crowding in the metro or the suburbs will cause many citizens to abandon public transport and to use their private cars instead, creating a surge in pollution. In this sense, the bicycle is a great alternative to public transport and private motor vehicles. The decrease in pollution in all the cities, due to mobility restrictions, shows the environmental improvement that occurs when there are fewer cars circulating. Confinement has reduced pollution by half in the 80 most populated cities in Spain, and the same has happened in other European cities such as Paris and Rome.
The World Health Organisation recommends walking and cycling in cities. Both active modes accomplish social distancing and help commuters achieve the minimum daily physical activity.
In the same line, the Spanish Government has proposed a set of recommendations to encourage the local authorities to promote the use of the bicycle: https://www.miteco.gob.es/es/prensa/ultimas-noticias/ribera-solicita-a-la-femp-que-los-municipios-adopten-medidas-de-impulso-a-la-bicicleta-en-la-desescalada-de-la-crisis-sanitaria/tcm:30-508868#prettyPhoto
This situation has opened our eyes to the fact that another, more sustainable model is possible. There is a consensus that this is a unique opportunity to encourage sustainable transport and it must be promoted to remain in the future and reduce pollution in cities. Here are some articles that explain this trend in more depth: