ACTIVE TRAVEL: What are the benefits of ditching cars?
A young mother says the idea of getting in the car to go to the local shop “baffles” her after seeing the benefits of walking and cycling in her own life.
Charlotte Hayes is one of many people across our region who have stopped using their car for shorter journeys in an attempt to be healthier, travel quickly and tackle the climate emergency.
It comes as a wider push to get more people to use Active Travel for short journeys continues.
Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram’s campaign for people to ditch cars for short journeys began last week and now three residents of our region have spoken about the benefits they have seen since doing just that.
Charlotte, who is the mum of a 14-month-old, said walking with a buggy has proved a better way to get around than by car for many journeys.
She said: “It’s a lot more convenient to walk after having a baby, especially because I feel like I’m doing a lot of things at once – so we can get the groceries, we can also get some fresh air and see the birds. So being able to do all that feels like a big ‘tick’ for my day.”
Charlotte says that walking has improved her health and wellbeing and she now wants to carry on taking more short journeys by foot.
She said: “I feel like my life has changed totally since I started walking and I can never imagine not doing it now. The thought of getting in the car and driving to the local shop baffles me now!”
Lasharn Brown, from Toxteth, said cycling had similarly beneficial impacts on her life.
She said cycling, which she originally started to commute more quickly to work, has become a key part of how she gets around more generally.
Lasharn said: “I love cycling because it gets me from A to B in a healthy way. I started using my bike to get to work faster during the week.”
“I use my bike to go to the shops, to go and see my Nan as well, and to see my friends on the weekends.
“Using a bike has lots of benefits, mostly health and time efficiency but it’s also social thing as well. And it’s saved me loads because I’m not spending to get Ubers all the time.”
She has recently joined local cooperative Cycle of Life who provide safety lessons and cycle repairs as well as holding group bike rides for the community of Liverpool 8 and beyond.
Ed Lamb, a graphic designer from Bebington, has found cycling a great way of getting his kids to school as well as commuting.
Ed said he “tended not to do much longer recreational riding” but had found cycling massively useful for shorter journeys.
Like many people across the region, Ed is currently doing his job mostly from home right now, but says he’s looking forward to getting back on the bike as a way of clearing his head before and after a day at work.
He said: “When I was riding to the office and back, twenty minutes every morning and afternoon, it’s just a way of switching off and watching the world go by – so I think the mental health benefits of cycling have been big.”
“You’ll take different routes to places that you might have done otherwise in a car and you get to know your neighbourhood and your local area much better.”
Words: Nick Tyrrell, Local Democracy Reporter
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