Is Walking the Safest Method of Travel?

02/06/2020

Is Walking the Safest Method of Travel?

Many countries around the world are beginning to make significant alterations in their approach to the COVID-19 virus and how citizens can and should go about their daily business. This, of course, includes travel outside of the home and specifically travelling to and from a place of work.

Due to the dangers COVID-19 poses to people who are gathering in a small, confined space (like buses or trains for example) it’s been refreshing to see some authorities recommending people ditch their usual mode of transport to and from work and replace it with a good old-fashioned walk to the office.

At Whereabouts Holidays we’re very much in-tune with the benefits of walking and walking holidays, but in the current global climate these benefits have taken on an entirely new meaning.

So, here are just a few reasons why walking might be the safest method of travel for the world we’re living in today:

Open Spaces

If you live in a busy city-centre environment, this point might not apply to you as much as others, but there are still takeaways you can put to good use.

One of the countless beauties of walking is that it allows us to greatly appreciate the world around us; A quiet, pedestrian street at 5am. A tranquil country path at sunrise. Heck, even walking around your garden will give you something to appreciate. 

But in walking to and from work we give ourselves the opportunity to avoid unnecessary contact with people you’d find in other modes of transport, like public transport.

Better still, if we are concerned about coming into contact with another person while walking, we have ample time to move out of the way or alter our course to maintain government-recommended social distancing measures. A luxury we wouldn’t find elsewhere. In a strange way, we’re in complete control when we make our own way.

Now, speaking of public transport…

Avoiding public transport

There might be ongoing discussions about how public transport can be adapted to meet today’s new social distancing standards for the safety of not just passengers but anybody who might be involved, but the simple fact is that when people are confined to a space as claustrophobic as a bus or a train, the chances of catching something unpleasant like COVID-19 are greatly increased, no matter how you try to shape your argument.

This is why walking is (literally) such a breath of fresh air. There’s virtually no need to limit yourself to such a close-knit space with other potential carriers; You have the freedom to move as you wish and avoid any unnecessary contact or close contact with people you don’t know.

Don’t want to come within 2 metres of somebody walking towards you? Cross the street, or make the necessary adjustments to allow them to pass. These options simply don’t exist in buses and trains which, in many instances, are horrifically under-ventilated. This is why people are far more likely to catch the common cold (amongst other things) when using public transport.

Freedom to change routes

We all have our preferred walking routes. Whether it’s for exercise or making a specific journey (for example to work) we follow our routes because they’re the quickest, the shortest, the best, a whole number of reasons.

But when we walk, these routes are by no means set in stone; We always have the option to change these routes for whatever reason which, nowadays, is an excellent option when personal safety is concerned. If our route begins to look a little busy, we can always turn on the sat-nav built into our brains (or actually use Google Maps if we get a bit stuck!) and figure out an alternate route we can try that might present less of a danger.

You don’t get this option on public transport. If the carriage or the bus begins to get busy, you can’t simply ask the driver to change his route to avoid picking up masses of people, that would be insane! The same can be said for car travel, too. Although driving in a car by yourself presents a much more reduced risk of catching something than travelling with other people.

Exercise

This might be a little less directly related to the coronavirus crisis, but it’s still a great example of why walking is one of the safest ways to travel… your health counts as safety!

Unless you’ve been living under a rock your entire life you’ll be well aware of all the amazing health benefits of exercising regularly. This undoubtedly includes walking everyday, which has been shown to drastically reduce the risk of everything from heart disease to diabetes to brain disease and beyond.

In short, you’ll be doing your overall health a world of good if you choose to forget about the car or the bus or the train and walk to work every day if you have the option. Or even if you don’t have the full option, at least walk part of your journey to fit in some daily exercise. Your body will thank you for it.

As we all begin to adapt to whatever “new normal” will come our way, there can be no question that walking will play an integral part in what’s to come. We hope people will see an increase in walking not as an unfortunate alternative, but as a positive byproduct of what has been a very difficult time for us as a society. 

In terms of what the future holds for Walking Holidays, stay tuned to @WhereaboutsHols for our latest updates.