Where have all the cyclists been hiding? Since the lockdown started in Philly for coronavirus, we have seen a massive spike in the number of riders out and about.
Figures taken from the Kelly Drive Trail alone are staggering, and that is probably where the highest numbers are being seen. There, riders are using the trail at numbers that are 491% over what they were in the past. These numbers are taken from the beginning of March and being compared to last year at the same time, and they speak volumes about how important biking is to this town.
These numbers have been gathered by automated biker counters that were established on the trail. These counters are picking up record numbers of cyclists on the trail, but the Kelly Drive Trail isn’t the only place we are seeing a massive influx of rides.
Other trails are seeing fantastic numbers as well, and riders are up 151% across all the trials in Philadelphia. This means great things for the future of the city and its invites to push for more cycling and fewer motorists on the roads. There is plenty of speculation about why these numbers are occurring in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The most common suggested reason is that the citizens don’t have anywhere they need to take their cars, since most stores are closed down and nonessential services are no longer available. People are at home, away from work and have more time to cycle. They can start to go after some of their fitness goals and put their bikes to good use, even if they haven’t used their bikes in while.
Another reason we are seeing these surges is because of the health initiatives being pushed all across the world. People want to build up immunity and strength against a viral outbreak. Having healthier bodies helps them to fight off infection from this outbreak and from future outbreaks. Many people are exercising for their long-term health these days and making use of their extra free time to strengthen themselves and protect against all manner of infections and viruses.
Petitions are underway to close some of the streets in Philly to accommodate the large than normal cycling traffic. This gives riders the chance to stay six feet apart as they ride and makes streets safer for cyclists, as they would not have to worry about cars.
While it may sound odd to say anything positive about the coronavirus and its impact on society, it is certainly helpful to look at the bright side when possible. The coronavirus may have much of Philly shut down, but it is helping some people realize the joy of cycling. Perhaps when the city opens fully back up, the numbers for cyclists on the roads and trails will continue to stay high as people remember how much fun they had taking a ride instead of driving their car.