One in Three Brits Has Ditched Driving for Walking to Save Money, Options Exist

Cyclist on the road in the UK 25 photos
Photo: iAM Roadsmart UK
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A recent survey has shown that one in three motorists in the UK has decided to walk more because of the surging cost of fuel. While 33 percent of interviewed motorists have decided to just walk instead of driving, and 17 percent said that they use public transport on a more regular basis.
Nowadays, there are other concerns regarding the new cyclists on the road. Our suggestion? Stay vigilant regardless if you are driving, cycling, or walking. Now, time for some money-saving tips on transportation.

As the makers of the survey have noted, seven percent of the people interviewed had acquired a bicycle or decided to use an existing one more frequently.

While public transport is less risky from a crash perspective than getting in an accident on a bicycle, you may still get hurt, but accidents are not that common, thankfully. Cycling will help you save money, but only if you know how to cycle, have a place to store your bike, and you use it to replace your vehicle a couple of times a week.

Now, the problem is that some of the new cyclists on the road, as well as those who used to cycle as a hobby but now are going to work, may be exposed to higher levels of risk while riding on shared roads, as well as in intersections.

Feet on the pedals at all times
Moreover, many of those will be in a hurry, so they might try to cut some corners to save time. That is where the risky part comes in unexpectedly. A part of that risk exists for motorcyclists, as well, who are more vulnerable in an accident when compared to someone who is inside a vehicle.

If higher fuel prices are making a dent in your budget, you can either do what 19 percent of respondents have done, which is taking extra care to stick to the speed limits, as well as do what 38 percent of interviewed respondents have done, and that was trying to drive more economically. We have several articles here that can help you learn how to drive in a more fuel-efficient way.

If you have figured out that you can replace your car with a bicycle for some of your trips and save some money while doing it, always remember to wear a helmet, as well as adjust that helmet properly on your head. Simply putting your helmet on like a cap (I have seen people do this) or leaving it just hanging on by a couple of threads like a cowboy hat is making that vital piece of equipment almost useless.

Mind you – having a pair of gloves will make the difference in a fall between sore hands and bandaged hands. Why? Because it is a human reflex to put your hands in front when falling, but doing that at cycling speeds will hurt – not protecting your face will hurt more.

using your phone while riding is also illegal
Another tip is to be sure to have pants that cover the entirety of the skin on your feet, as falling from a bicycle will cause road rash – and you might get away with it at low speeds if you have decent denim on your skin.

Remember that it only works in some situations, so things will be dicey (and painful – do not forget about pain here) if you are pedaling as hard as you can and then fall off because of a bit of water on the road or a small spill of oil or sand.

According to the folks at IAM RoadSmart, the rise in people using bicycles and public transport instead of personal vehicles has been the "green lining" to the rise of fuel costs in the UK. Instead of forking out a higher part of your income on fuel and not changing your habits, we suggest a hybrid approach.

No, we are not suggesting you sell your vehicle to buy a hybrid to save fuel – as the savings from that would only begin to offset the expenditure for a newer vehicle after many thousands of miles, if not more. Instead, we are proposing you save money by changing your transportation habits.

Google Maps satellite mode navigation
Photo: autoevolution
These days, most people have a general idea of where they are going in a day before they leave their house. Thanks to smartphones and the internet, we all know the forecast for the rest of the day, so all that is left to figure out is where you need to be and when, and then take the cheapest way there or the solution that blends quick and cheap in the best manner.

My proposal to you, those who want to save money on fuel, is to plan your day before leaving your house. If you have an office job and never leave your desk during the day, driving to work will be a waste of money, as well as an extra hassle. Nobody likes to be in the morning rush or in the rush hour that forms when everyone is leaving their workplace.

Instead – if you are sure you can manage without your car, and most people can, you can drive it on another day and to somewhere where you will have a tough time on a bicycle – such as when you do your weekly shopping and must carry heavy stuff. Plan for the latter, and you might get away from the usual traffic from the shops, as well.

If the weather and your route allow it, walking or cycling are cost-free. Unless your bike gets stolen (just kidding - hopefully).

Handsfree biking is illegal
While not the most effective from a time-saving perspective, remember that you can always adapt when you do not have to worry about parking, and you can just take that smartphone out of your pocket, enter your destination on Google Maps and just look for alternative ways of getting there.

Renting an e-scooter, hailing an Uber, or using a different line of public transit might do the trick. Again, all these mobility options are at your fingertips, and you can save money while you are at it – as you are not burning fuel while in standstill traffic.

If your mobility needs dictate the use of a car, do not despair, as you can still save a bit of money if you think things through. For example, when going to a shopping center using your car, do not move it if you go from one store in one area of the center to another.

Avoid trips that involve having to stay in traffic for more time than it takes to drive there – such as picking up various things from several stores in an area. Park your car next to the first store (legally, of course), get your stuff, and then walk to the next while leaving the items in the trunk. Just think ahead before getting in your car as if you were a robot and that was the only way that you could move along.

Gas Station
Photo: Suzanne Emily O'Connor on Unsplash
Moreover, if you must drive to work daily, or you must drive to a transportation hub to get on a train to work, leaving just five to ten minutes earlier in the morning might make the difference in traffic – and since you are not in a rush, there will be no need for heavy acceleration when leaving the stoplight.

In most cases, your biggest enemy in fuel saving is driving from a standstill - going too slow will irritate those behind you and waste fuel, and going too fast may be dangerous, will add wear and tear to some components, and will increase your fuel consumption.

Being efficient with the gas pedal will do wonders, but it is an acquired skill. Imagine you are stepping on a boiled and de-shelled egg but do not want to squish it. Now, be relaxed when doing it. See? It works.

If it is not enough in savings, cut back on driving, easy on the speed, and try to link several tasks when you are away - for example, if you have to drive to work, walk to the nearest supermarket, get your shopping done, walk back to your car, and drive home after the rush hour traffic had passed.

It does not work for everyone, every time or every day, but just think of alternative ways, use Google Maps to help, and you will be able to save money by acquiring less fuel for your vehicle without losing your mobility.
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About the author: Sebastian Toma
Sebastian Toma profile photo

Sebastian's love for cars began at a young age. Little did he know that a career would emerge from this passion (and that it would not, sadly, involve being a professional racecar driver). In over fourteen years, he got behind the wheel of several hundred vehicles and in the offices of the most important car publications in his homeland.
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