Cycling in the Era of COVID-19: Lessons Learnt and Best Practice Policy Recommendations for a More Bike-Centric Future

Alexandros Nikitas, Stefanos Tsigdinos, Christos Karolemeas, Efthymia Kourmpa, Efthimios Bakogiannis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our cities in monumental ways with no sector likely being more severely impacted than transport. Lockdowns, physical spacing, transport restrictions and stay-at-home guidelines have transformed personal mobility and highlighted the mistakes of an unbalanced pro-car culture that defined a century of urban planning. One immediate effect of the virus in relation to travel demand and supply was the emergence of active travel modes because of their unique ability to provide a socially distanced way of transport. Cycling is one of the modes that has enjoyed significant attention. Numerous cities have reallocated street and public space to cyclists and introduced pro-bike interventions like pop-up cycle lanes, e-bike subsidies, free bike-share use and traffic calming measures. This newly found outbreak-induced momentum creates an opportunity to establish a new ethos that allows the promotion of potentially permanent strategies that may help cycling to be (re-)established as a robust, mainstream and resilient travel mode for inner city trips and not as a second-class alternative operating under the automobile’s giant shadow. This paper provides a state-of-the-art description of the anti-COVID cycling-friendly initiatives that have been introduced globally, the successes and failures of these initiatives, the lessons learnt that can help us redefine the bicycle’s role in local societies today and a best cycling practice policy guide for planning a more bike-centric future.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4620
Number of pages25
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number9
Early online date21 Apr 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


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