Cycling Safely while Social Distancing

Apr 7, 2020 | Pedestrian Safety

Currently, the Canadian government has not banned outdoor cycling. But, if the COVID-19 virus cannot be contained, and/or people are seen to be breaking the spirit of the measures, then we can expect further restrictions, similar to those being imposed in parts of mainland Europe – i.e. no outside exercising at all.

Basically don’t do anything that could be put on social media as an example of why all cyclists are irresponsible, why cycling could be spreading coronavirus or risking overwhelming our Health care system.  We don’t want cycling being banned completely. 

Children riding their bikes for fun

As of this writing, the 25th of March, the Canadian government has said that riding a bike is a suitable activity for children and adults of all ages. It’s going to be really important for physical and mental health that kids remain active and entertained. Riding a bike is great fun and it’s encouraging that the government, for now, are allowing this to continue.

A small toddler or child riding around the park or yard on their balance bike or pedal bike is getting fresh air, exercise and letting off steam.  Yes, there’s a small risk of physical injury, but there is in most activities young children do (they could fall off the sofa watching Paw Patrol!).

Riding a bike is an activity that can be done in complete isolation in your yard, alone or in your household group in open spaces with 2 metres or more between other household groups.

Cycling Safely while Social Distancing

Cycling Safely while Social Distancing

As children get older, they do tend to take more risks, so that’s where we need to start thinking about what they’re doing, and risks of injury which would take important resources away from the Health care system. Some kids will want to take bigger and bigger risks, perhaps learning new tricks and techniques, or riding faster or harder. Now isn’t the time to be doing this.  They also mustn’t be meeting up with friends.   If they’re riding their bike alone sensibly, and maintaining social distancing then I’d argue that cycling is a good thing.

Family bike rides during COVID-19

Cycling is now one of the only activities that are being allowed outside of the house (along with walking and running), so long as:

  • it is done alone, or with members of your household;
  • you do it no more than once a day;
  • your household group maintain at least 2 metres from others not in your household group and
  • your time outside is minimized.

Currently, all non-essential travel is strongly discouraged and may end up being banned completely. Therefore, it is no longer a good idea to drive to somewhere to ride your bike. This means all cycling must now be done from your own front door.

Ironic it may be, but COVID-19 is a great opportunity to get out and explore your local area.  The benefits of cycling include improved cardiovascular health which may well help reduce the symptoms of the coronavirus.  Find those routes that you don’t know about, which might mean you can continue cycling more once all this is over.

There is a risk that parts of Canada will go into a more stringent lockdown, which would see this type of activity banned, as it has been in parts of mainland Europe, so now is the time to get out and enjoy your local cycle paths while you still can.

However, I can’t stress enough that this MUST BE DONE RESPONSIBLY.

Do not stay outside too long (although that has yet to be defined)

Do not gather in groups, or ride with friends or family outsides of your household group

Do not do risky activities – i.e. riding at high speed, bike parks, jumps etc 

If there are too many people out on their bikes where you intended to cycle, turn around and go somewhere else.   Choose a different route or different time tomorrow. 

Stay safe, be smart!