The coronavirus pandemic is accelerating at a rapid rate across the world. As such, cyclists can be forgiven for feeling confused about the do’s and don’ts of going outside and what this pandemic means for cycling. If you’re one of those confused cyclists, we’ve got you covered. Here’s what you need to know about the situation so far.
Is it OK to ride my bike outside?
You’re permitted to cycle to and from work if you’re unable to work from home due to the nature of your job. There is one clear condition, though – you must stay 2 metres away from anyone who isn’t living in your household.
The same rule applies to cycling for recreational purposes. You’re allowed to do this once a day, provided you adhere to the social distancing measures stipulated by the British government.
The fact that people are still allowed out on their bikes will come as a relief to many, due to the physical and mental health benefits associated with cycling – which are particularly essential at a time like this.
In his address to the nation, Boris Johnson suggested cycling is an important form of exercise during this difficult time:
“People will only be allowed to leave their home for… one form of exercise a day – for example a run, walk, or cycle – alone or with members of your household”.
Can I ride in groups?
This may not come as a shock, but just to reiterate – you should not cycle or take part in any cycling activity in groups under any circumstances. For clarity, a group is classified as more than two people.
The government’s latest measures only permit lone riders or those who live in the same household to cycle together.
Can I ride in the woods?
If you live in or very close to woods or forests, you’re allowed to cycle there provided you observe the social distancing measures.
However, you shouldn’t travel from afar to cycle in the woods. Forestry England, which looks after 1,500 public forest and woods that receive almost 27 million visitors a year, issued a statement urging people to follow the government’s advice.
The statement read: “The government has told everyone to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.
“This is a very sad day for us, as we ask you not to visit the nation’s forests or do anything that would put the emergency services under extra pressure.”
Forestry England also asked those who use a public forest or wood for cycling to take extra care, to avoid having an accident that increases pressure on emergency services.
How has the coronavirus impacted cycling?
Italy and Spain have placed temporary bans on leisure cycling, such has been the rate at which coronavirus has spread in these countries. Only rides for medical or food supplies are permitted, and anybody caught riding for another reason faces a fine of up to €3,000.
Closer to home, in Wales, this pandemic has had a devastating effect on the country’s mountain biking industry – one that is worth £54 million to the Welsh economy. Three parks in north Wales have closed temporarily, while uplift services at Cwmcarn Forest in Gwent and Bike Park Wales in Merthyr Tydfil have stopped running.
Such a dramatic drop in cycling participation levels has inevitably had an adverse effect on retailers, with bike companies based in northern Italy and other areas of Europe having to halt final assembly and distribution.
However, there are some reasons to be positive. UK bike shops that are repairers have been labelled an essential service by the government and have subsequently seen a surge in business in recent weeks. In addition, Taiwan – where some of the world’s biggest bike manufacturers are based – has been relatively unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic so far.
Advice from British Cycling
On 23rd March, British Cycling announced it would suspend all competitive cycling events until 30th June.
Here’s the body’s full statement:
“With all government guidance pointing towards a period during which the nation is being urged to come together to fight the spread of the virus, and the unprecedented burden currently on our emergency and public services, we felt that this is the most responsible – and only – course of action we could take at this moment.
“We are acutely aware of the impact that this situation has had on individuals, communities and businesses within cycling and beyond. We’d like to take this opportunity to reinforce that, while we share in the disappointment of those affected by this extended suspension, we will do absolutely everything within our power to ensure that cycling can return with strength and as soon as possible.
“This suspension period will include the dates originally set for several traditional milestones of the competitive cycling calendar. As with the vast majority of sports – while our primary focus will always be health and wellbeing – we will be exploring all options regarding the fulfilment of the racing calendar once sporting events can recommence.
“Our recommendation to our clubs remains that no organised activity (including rides, training, coaching, events) should take place during this period, in line with government advice on social gatherings and non-essential travel.”
What does my cycling insurance cover me for?
You are still insured if you cycle outside, but you must make sure that you follow government advice. If you make a claim because of an accident during a group ride, or any cycling activity which disregards the advice around social distancing, your claim could be declined.
However, if you have any further questions regarding your insurance and what you’re covered for, please log in to your Cycleplan account. From here, you’ll be able to access all your insurance documentation and this will explain the conditions of your policy in more detail.
If you still have questions and would like to speak to us directly, you can call us on 08000 92 92 68.
However, given the nature of this situation, we are experiencing higher call volumes and may take a little longer to respond to your query. If you’re struggling to get through to our call centre team, here’s how else you can contact us:
- Email us at email@example.com (Monday – Friday, 9am – 5:30pm).
- Contact us on Facebook or Twitter and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.
Thinking of switching to indoor cycling?
If the restrictions on outdoor exercise tighten in the coming weeks, then you might be considering switching to riding indoors. If you already own or are going to be investing in a turbo trainer you can quickly and easily add it to your Cycleplan policy and it’ll be covered for theft, loss and damage. And if you have added Personal Accident to your policy, you’ll also be covered if you have an accident when riding using it.