COVID-19 and cycling: a review of the literature on changes in cycling levels and government policies from 2019 to 2022

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Abstract

This paper reviews 100 peer-reviewed articles and 12 non-refereed papers on COVID-19 and cycling published from March 2020 to January 2023. Overall, the studies suggest more increases than decreases in cycling, with some cities reporting large increases. However, there has been much variation among countries, cities, and specific corridors within cities as well as variation by gender, age, ethnicity, income group, trip purpose, and time period of the pandemic. The largest increases in cycling in 2020 were for recreation, exercise, and stress relief on weekends and weekday afternoons. By comparison, cycling to work, university, schools, and shopping generally declined. Most studies reported expansions or improvements in bikeway networks, often specifically related to COVID or accelerated due to COVID, and with a particular emphasis on low-stress facilities such as protected bike lanes, slow streets, car-free streets, and traffic calmed neighbourhood streets. Most of the studies examining the social equity impacts of COVID-related cycling policies found them to be broadly equitable across income, ethnic, age, and gender dimensions. Many studies recommended further expansion of low-stress, safer facilities in order to attract a broader cross-section of the population to cycling.

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Buehler, R., & Pucher, J. (2024). COVID-19 and cycling: a review of the literature on changes in cycling levels and government policies from 2019 to 2022. Transport Reviews, 44(2), 299–344. https://doi.org/10.1080/01441647.2023.2205178

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