How has COVID-19 changed your commute?

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(NC) Active transportation is on the rise across Canada, as we look for new ways of getting around that help keep us safer and socially distant.  

Bikes, electric scooters, rollerblades and even walking have all increased in popularity and offer a cleaner, greener commute than public transit. They also provide exercise benefits –?essential for helping our mood during periods of quarantine and isolation. Expect this trend to continue, as bicycles remain sold out in cities  and shared e-scooter apps gain momentum with provincial pilot programs.  

Public transit agencies weathered a devastating blow in the early stages of the COVID-19 response and reported ridership drops of 50 to 90 per cent below normal as people stayed off transit lines to reduce transmission of the virus in Canada.  

As transit agencies work to bring regular service back online, it is clear the fall commute will look and feel different. Masks, sanitization and changes to routes are new operating considerations for municipalities during these challenging times. Some agencies are adapting services and brokering partnerships with other transportation organizations in order to meet the needs of riders.  

To curb the spread of COVID-19, many commuters are turning to their cars even if they were previously transit users. In fact, personal vehicle use is expected to climb, seen as a safeguard against possible transmission. Early days of the pandemic brought empty streets, but as companies return to work and the weather takes a turn for the worse, expect increases in traffic.  

Here are some tips for road users from Onlia, safety advocate and provider of digital home and auto insurance: 

Active transportation 

  • Look out for increasing numbers of cyclists, scooters and pedestrians. Watch speeds and drive with care.  
  • If you’re a new rider or cyclist, learn the appropriate rules of the road. Experts remind commuters to look out for each other and be patient –?we are all adjusting to this next version of normal.  

Driving 

  • Congestion on highways and city streets may make commuting stressful. Pay attention and be mindful of sharing the road.  
  • Concerned your driving skills may have slipped during quarantine? Download Onlia Sense, a  safe driving app with revolutionary driver coaching to help you develop proactive behaviours behind the wheel. 

Commuting 

  • Be mindful of new transit routes and changes, whether you are sharing the road with or using public transit. 

Attention Editors: This content is reserved for distribution in Ontario only.