I admit I’m greatly enjoying the reduced traffic. I’m enjoying how much easier it is to hear the birdsong from inside my flat, and that the dawn chorus today did not have an accompaniment of vehicles. All of the roads round here are quieter, easier to cross, safer.
Yesterday I noticed that there is no longer a taste in the back on my mouth when I go out. It was so normal, that I hadn’t been aware of it before. Lorries and buses give me a brief round of it, but it is no longer intrinsic to breathing. It was an unpleasant flavour. I breathe a little more easily without it. The air is cleaner.
Of course cars have greatly advantaged people as we’ve moved towards lockdown. People in their own car are safer than those crushed into public transport. People with cars have had options of panic buying and stocking up. They also won’t need to top up shop that often. Those of us who carry our shopping home on our backs cannot buy so much in one go. As usual, the people who have least and cause least harm are disadvantaged.
I have dreamed for a long time of seeing this kind of reduction in car use. I would not have chosen to do it this way. Those absent cars represent lives in chaos. Education disrupted and the massive stress of still not really knowing what will happen for GCSE and A Level students. Those cars belonged to self employed people who have been left totally exposed by callous political choices. They were the cars of people visiting their loved ones. We needed to learn how to do without them, but not like this.