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The new normal for the future.

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The health emergency of these days is having a very high cost for local and national institutions. From this emergency, administrations will be able to put into practice the cultural teachings of these days and invest in livable, lively, sustainable cities to decrease healthcare spending.

Soon, this nightmare will end and we could go back to living our squares, our streets, our places. It will be good to remember that the bike is good for you, good for the community, good for the environment.

In these days of medical emergency we have a "new normal". The various decrees have rightly limited travel throughout the national territory to limit the risk of spreading the virus. Any movement for reasons which are not considered strictly necessary, be it on foot, by bike, in public transport, by car or motorbike can cause obstacles to the national health system and to the system in general. Potentially, a move is a danger because it can generate an accident to deal with the Healthcare already committed to another emergency. In such a condition, it is clear that each of us has personal and community responsibilities.

#Everythingwillbealright, this nightmare will soon end and we will once again have our right to freedom, urban accessibility, out-of-town mobility. Seriously, all this must leave us something positive! Man has already experienced moments of unexpected change, of shocks. In our country with our millennial history we have experienced emergencies of all kinds: from the most recent natural and environmental catastrophes to wars. From every event, history has always taught something, culture has always won.

In the days of the Italian quarantine there are equally “shocking” satellite images. In Italy and especially in the Po Valley, pollution has definitely decreased as visible from the Sentinel5 satellite images. This improvement in air quality is due to several factors. Surely there is an improvement in weather conditions, but there is also a substantial reduction in NO2. There have been the obvious controversies of those who argue that among the main pollutants there is domestic heating, but the node on which to reflect is not only pollution.

Remember that soon we will return to move. We will have a vehicle that we have always had and we find it at very low cost: the bicycle! It can be said that this means of transport is good for you, good for the community, good for the environment! This is good to understand at a time like this and we must remember it when we all return to fill our streets, our squares, our places.

Staying on the issue of the emergency of these days, the bicycle is the safest and fastest means of transport that makes it possible to maintain safe distances and avoid repeated contacts during a move. Bicycling helps limit any viruses. Riding a bike means you are not in a closed place with 4 other people like in a car and you are not in contact with surfaces used by other people such as on public transport. This does not mean that other means should not be used, it simply means that the bicycle is a transport alternative to be evaluated. The right mix between car, public transport, bicycle, micro-mobility and walking is a civilization solution.

In the past, the World Health Organization (WHO), the same organization that has declared the global pandemic in recent days, has underlined the positive role of carrying out physical activity for at least 30 minutes a day. Usually, a home-to-work, home-to-school trip is below 5 km, which means a round trip bike ride is worth about 30 minutes. Regular use of the bicycle for urban travel helps our health, our psychological well-being and our level of fitness – which means our aesthetics.

The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure recommends the use of the bicycle for several positive effects. The institution claims that cycling helps to have a healthier and longer life, simply because it allows more exercise, because it has positive psychological and social effects, and finally, because it reduces the risk of contracting certain diseases. The more you train because you walk, because you exercise, because you get on your bike, the more you have regular, effortless breathing, therefore you are more able to limit the inspiration damage of urban pollutants.

In general, in Italy it is believed that cities are not predisposed or safe for pedaling. The aforementioned data shows that on average urban journeys are under 5 km. This data shows that we can be able to pedal in the city for 10-15 continuous minutes and choose the safest, most direct and most comfortable routes.

For local administrations, the health emergency of these days has a very high cost. Soon, this period will end, road accidents will return to be among the main expenditure items of Italian healthcare. The administrations will be able to put into practice the cultural teachings of these days and invest in livable, lively, sustainable cities to decrease healthcare spending. We could rethink our cities together, draw, plan, build the city on a human scale.

A city on a human scale can also be understood as a sustainable city, where healthier ways of moving for the environment and for ourselves are encouraged, but which can also make cities live with a different perspective. In the following video, a clear example of how the city of Rotterdam can be seen by riding your bicycle.

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