This summer will go down in history as one of staycations — with up to half price dining out during the week, virtual parties over Zoom and falling in love with your local park.
Lockdown has also surprisingly become synonymous with a rise in ‘DIY’ projects around the home and living room physical fitness, and has even created an era where people have become more active and mobile than ever.
Bikes, scooters and other mobility options are skyrocketing in popularity. But is this uptake hinting towards a shift in longer term mobility behaviour, favouring healthier and less polluting journeys and less use of public transport? Will 2020 set a new precedence for the future of mobility forever?
The Cycle to Work Scheme, launched back in 1999, allowed all commuters to purchase bicycles or cycling equipment tax-free through their place of work.
This very scheme saw a 120% increase in June 2020 alone, signalling a shift in people favouring other mobility options as an alternative to public transport. It’s estimated that 1.3 million brits bought a bike during lockdown, which accounts for almost 5% of all UK consumers.
With no clear end in sight to the current pandemic, micromobility (bicycles, e-bikes, e-skateboards and my favourite – e-scooters) are a sustainable and exciting option for commuters and hobbyists alike.
They also have a great appeal to local governments and cities. Not only do these options have the potential to alleviate crowding on public transport, they’re also a much greener option for getting from A to B.
Personally, I’ve been so pleasantly surprised to see my local area transform in the last few months, with a new cycle lane popping up seemingly every week. I think this is a good indicator that transport alternatives are very much here to stay.
One area of micromobility where business is set to boom is the electric, ‘e-scooter’ industry. Currently, UK law doesn’t permit private ownership of these nifty vehicles, but sheer demand has meant trials of rental models are now popping up all over the UK.
Spin is a Ford-owned micromobility company specialising in e-scooters, and is launching its first trial in Milton Keynes in the coming weeks.
This backing makes it a really interesting new player in the European market because it doesn’t rely on external financing , and so is a reliable partner to work with cities to meet and deliver on shared transportation goals.
Unlike competitors which have seen levels of misuse, Spin educates users about best practices, parking, safety etc. The company also penalise users for misconduct and for misuse of its fleet.
If public officials can strike the right balance and work in tandem with providers to ensure responsible and safe usage, I think micromobility is the option of the moment. We’re currently seeing tenders announced all over the UK, so authorities and people are championing the idea.
Most of us aren’t travelling more than 1-3 miles right now, so why not make that journey a fun and safe one?
I believe we will see e-scooters become the new bike, and if a second COVID-19 wave happens in the UK, more people will be turning to micromobility as a better and safer alternative to public transport. I’m excited to see how micromobility will take off in the coming months, and I’m looking forward to updating you all soon!