Joanna Majdecka, Municipality of Krakow for PMR: Cycling to work during the pandemic is much more frequent
Wpis dostępny jest także w języku: polski
Around 50% of participants in the Municipality of Krakow’s “Cycling to work” campaign say they are cycling more because of the pandemic. And fully two thirds have changed their transport habits, Joanna Majdecka, Chief Specialist at Krakow’s Department of Public Utilities, says in an interview with PMR.
Lack of comfort a top reason for not biking to work
In a survey conducted as part of the campaign*, almost 1/3 of respondents said they did not see any problems in using their bike as the basic means of transport to work. A slightly higher percentage cited lack of comfort (e.g. weather conditions, cycling in work clothes).
– Only less than 11% said they did not use their bike regularly because of insufficient cycling infrastructure (3% fear for their safety on the road). Over 12% live too far from their workplace, or have various commitments after work that make cycling less convenient – explains Ms. Majdecka.
Importantly, over 48% cited the quality of air in Krakow (smog) as something that makes biking to work less appealing. For about the same percentage, this factor is not important. If we take into account respondents who did not take part in the campaign, almost one in four lives too far from their workplace to commute by bike. About 18% do not cycle every day because they feel generally uncomfortable about cycling.
80% plan to cycle more post-pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has changed human behaviour in almost all aspects of life. As it turns out, it has also had a significant impact on Cracowians’ everyday transport patterns. In the survey, as many as two-thirds of respondents reported having changed their transport habits as a result of Covid. And an almost identical percentage (63%) said they had observed similar changes among their friends and relatives.
– The biggest change is a decrease in interest in public transport offerings, indicated by 67% of respondents. It was most likely caused by concerns about epidemiological safety. At the same time, around 50% are cycling more than they used to. By comparison, only a quarter have increased their car journeys – Ms. Majdecka notes.
Nearly half of those whose transport habits have been affected by Covid intend to change their mobility patterns post-pandemic, above all to increase the number of bicycle journeys compared to pre-Covid (80%). In a very similar way, the respondents also expect permanent changes in the transport habits of their friends and family.
Cycling-related expenditures have not increased
And what about expenditures related to cycling journeys – has the pandemic affected them, too? Have they gone up?
– More than half of the surveyed campaign participants did not observe any increase in expenditures. And only one in five non-participants reported an increase in their household’s cycling expenses – concludes Ms. Majdecka.
* The fourth edition of the campaign “ Cycling to work – home, bike, work…and over again” started in mid-June 2020 and ended on the last day of February 2021. Nearly 140 employers signed up, though some of them (about 50) subsequently withdrew after switching to a largely remote working environment. The participating employers employ a total of approx. 44,000 people. Participants in the campaign were required to take part in an anonymous survey. Although not everyone complied with this obligation, 1,101 responses were received. Additionally, other employees were also asked to fill in a dedicated questionnaire. Over 650 people responded in this way.
All data quoted in the text refer to participants in the campaign, unless explicitly stated otherwise.