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Report from Zone 9 Cycling Group – 7th July 2020

Car-pooling and lift sharing

Poor air quality and exposure to high levels of air pollution can cause a range of adverse health effects – cancer, lung disease and breathing difficulties such as asthma. Traffic caused by cars and other vehicles are a key contributor to poor air quality. In Chesham, hot spots are parts of Broad Street and Berkhamsted Road and the other main arteries and roundabouts around the town centre. As we know and experience, the volume of traffic and therefore pollution is worse at certain times such as morning and evening rush hours.

Driving less and reducing cars on the roads is good for our planet, our health and our finances. There are health benefits from switching to walking, cycling or taking public transport, but sometimes that is just not possible. Cars help us get to places which are not served by buses and trains; it can be quicker to drive than walk and sometimes cold weather or rain makes us prefer the comfort of the car. Car-pooling (or lift sharing) allows us to use the car as our mode of transport but we reduce the number of cars on Chesham’s roads. Car-pooling makes you feel good. You become a helpful and thoughtful citizen. It’s sociable: kids chat, adults can make friendships.

When to car pool?

There are numerous instances where you are not the only one driving to a location, and you have space in your car. You might do a regular journey for work or school, e.g. Chesham to Amersham; Chesham to Berkhamsted. Chesham to High Wycombe. You might be invited – along with others – to a birthday party in Hemel.

How does it work?

Be an advocate for change and talk about it

Talk to your friends and colleagues about why everyone stands to gain. Time saved from not doing that school run one day. Petrol saved by jumping in someone else’s car. Less cars on Chesham’s roads and therefore good for the environment.

Don’t be shy, take action

Offer to drive your neighbour’s child to school one day. See if the neighbour can bring your child back. Be proactive and ask people at work how they travel. Offer lifts to colleagues travelling the same way as you and be pleasantly surprised when they offer to help you back. Invited to a birthday party in Hemel or High Wycombe? Think of saving time, money and the planet if you squeeze 3 extra people into your car.

Give it a go

There is a little up-front effort involved. You can’t be late if you’ve committed to pick someone up. You can’t take a quick detour into Sainsbury’s for that milk you’ve run out of. But try it out and see if a one-off offer turns into a longer-term habit.

Use an app and