Sheffield resident Mark Elliott works at House of Logos in Attercliffe, a family business that also employs his father and his son. When lockdown was imposed on England and thousands of employees around the region were asked to work from home, work continued for Mark and the team and this of course included commuting.
Mark lives in Woodseats and would previously have driven to work more often than he cycled. The sudden reduction in road traffic gave him an opportunity to get his bike out and make the journey on two wheels more often. “My son cycles or runs to work most days” says Mark. “I saw how quiet the roads became almost overnight and decided to cycle the journey more myself too.”
The route has a mixture of road, cycle lanes and dedicated cycle paths – but they aren’t all user friendly in Mark’s experience. “Existing cycle paths are on the whole quite good, but some are hindered parts of the route with bollards and lamp-posts stuck right in the middle of the path that bikes, pedestrians and pushchairs and prams are all sharing. There needs to be more focus on making the infrastructure better to encourage more people to cycle. Anyone new to cycling might be put off by these obstacles.”
A keen mountain biker in his leisure time, Mark isn’t deterred and has continued to cycle to work a couple of days a week despite the increase in traffic. “Overall I think cycling to work is a positive step forward for any employee. No doubt in my mind that cycling is a good healthy option, but I think for more people to take it up a safe road option is required. Additionally, people thinking of cycling could do with some sort of help or test, a little like the old cycling proficiency test.”
With recent Government campaigns encouraging the employer to make cycling and walking a more accessible and convenient option for the commute, Mark said this is a good move, but smaller businesses may be recovering from the economic impact of the pandemic. “Companies I think are reluctant to invest in facilities that may not be used. Installing secure cycle stores, showers and changing facilities will be a cost that most small business will think is not worth it.”