PEOPLE are being urged to consider walking and cycling for regular journeys to help prevent the spread of coronavirus as lockdown restrictions begin to lift.
Current advice is for people to only use public transport if they really must, and Lancashire County Council is asking people to think about how they travel to help manage social distancing and avoid contributing to congestion on the roads. The council is already looking at measures which could be quickly introduced to encourage walking and cycling, and support social distancing in busy pedestrian areas.
County Councillor Keith Iddon, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "It's clear that the world is going to be living with coronavirus for some time, and that the need to limit the risk of spreading the virus will involve doing many day-to-day things differently to the way we did before.
"One thing which we know will be affected is the way people travel, with the need to ensure social distancing wherever possible.
"There has been a noticeable increase in cyclists and pedestrians on our roads as people exercise during lockdown, and we're encouraging them to keep this up as restrictions begin to ease.
"There is a danger that restrictions on public transport could lead to an increase in people driving and cause more congestion on the roads.
"People shouldn't travel to work unnecessarily if they can work from home. But if more people who do need to travel can walk and cycle it will help those who have to use public transport to keep apart and relieve congestion on the roads, as well as helping everyone to stay healthy."
The council will be working with partners to look at how to make best use of the funding recently received from the government to encourage walking and cycling, as well as funding which district and borough councils have received to help to reopen high streets safely.
County Councillor Iddon added: "We have an ongoing programme of investment to improve Lancashire's cycling and walking infrastructure but we're currently looking at some proposals we hope to be able to bring in very quickly to support everyday journeys as life begins to return to normal.
"We are working with our partners involved in the emergency response to the virus to help Lancashire recover and identify what we need to do as schools, workplaces, and businesses start to reopen.
"This includes looking at measures to support social distancing in busy pedestrian areas and ensure our town and city centre economies can function as safely as possible."
For more information on walking and cycling in Lancashire visit https://www.lancashire.gov.uk/roads-parking-and-travel/active-travel.