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Commuting During Coronavirus – Hygienic Travel for Keyworkers

Since coronavirus cases first began to appear in the UK, the government’s advice has been clear – in order to reduce the spread of the virus, normal human contact must be reduced. With most of the country in lockdown, strict social distancing rules are in place as the vast majority of us work or study from home.

The exceptions to these rules are our keyworkers – the NHS staff and volunteers caring for those suffering from COVID-19 along with a small army of teachers, supermarket workers, utility workers and public servants. While we stay at home to save lives, they still have to get to work. Along with being essential, their journeys now carry more risk than they did in healthier times.

Public Transport Anxiety

As the number of people commuting into towns and cities every day has reduced, so have the number of services being run. This means that the buses, underground and train carriages that were overloaded before the coronavirus crisis began remain just as packed. At the same time, social distancing encourages us to stay 2 metres from other people and avoid overcrowded public spaces to prevent us spreading or catching the virus.

The desire to avoid unnecessary (and unpleasant!) social contact on crowded public transport is leading many keyworkers to adjust their travel plans and use privately owned vehicles to complete their journeys.

Personal Protection Zone

While some key workers have turned to their cars to complete their commutes, parking, petrol and affordability put others off.

Instead, many are relying on their electric scooters to stay mobile during the pandemic, with some covering much longer distances than usual. Riding an escooter is an easy, safe, healthy and socially distanced personal transport option which gives the rider complete control to adjust routes if they encounter large groups of people. While shared electric scooters in other European cities are seeing low use due to a perceived contamination risk, privately owned escooters carry no such hygiene concerns.

Additional Health Benefits

During these uncertain times, scooter-riding keyworkers are choosing to be surrounded by fresh air on their escooters rather than breathing in re-circulated air while in close quarters with others on public transport. There are no shared surfaces to touch, and it’s easy to avoid anyone coughing – just steer away!

Additionally, scooting in the sunshine after a long day at work must have mental health benefits. Getting some gentle exercise in an outdoor space is actively encouraged by the government during this pandemic, and using the commute to and from work to do just that should be encouraged.

The Fly in the Ointment

It’s clear that many of the reasons that key workers are turning to their escooters as a safe and hygienic method of travel to work comply fully with the government’s suggestions and instructions during this unprecedented period. It’s a responsible, socially-distanced and healthy way to commute.

Unfortunately, it has still not been made fully legal despite the government launching a regulatory review to do just that, and the coronavirus crisis could even delay any decision further. Until the regulations are updated, our key workers risk a fine and points on their licence for choosing their electric scooter over a packed train to get to work. And when lockdown eventually ends, other commuters may also prefer to avoid the additional risk of using public transport until the virus has been eradicated, meaning we may see more escooters on our streets than ever before.

During these difficult times, the Coronavirus Act 2020 gives the police additional powers, including the ability to suspend fines and penalties awarded. Let’s hope that in the case of our key worker escooter commuters, they do just that.

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