Motorcycling during the CoronaVirus lockdown?

In this rapidly changing situation, I wanted to write a quick article around motorcycling and COVID-19.

Before we get into things, this article was written 21st March 2020 : so please be aware and check the most up to date guidance and advice from your local authorities and governments. Guidance will be changing on a daily basis; please adhere to whatever the most current guidance is.

On the 20th March the UK Government announced that all bars, pubs, clubs restaurants, and gyms are to close, as well as many other small and large businesses across the UK : a serious step up in the response to combating the spread of COVID-19.

At the moment, there is no UK Government enforced lock down or restrictions on UK domestic travel by car or motorcycle, so right now, you have the right to go out for a motorcycle for pleasure. The question you need to ask yourself is, should you?

  1. The argument in support of going for a solo ride (for pleasure) is that (if you do not need to self isolate) it is an activity you can enjoy yourself, alone, without posing much unnecessary risk to others. (And obviously, if you are required to continue to work (and cannot work from home) then if your motorcycle is your transport, you’ll still be motorcycling as part of your commute.)
  2. Some counter arguments against going for (a ‘pleasure ride’) might include:
    • You might be putting yourself (and others) at risk as your journey is not really a necessity, if you need fuel for example, you’ll be touching a fuel nozzle, then as you take your helmet on and off you will likely be touching parts of your face.
    • Let us also be real, motorcycling is inherently dangerous: having even a light tumble would be putting unnecessary & needless burden our already strained healthcare staff and systems.
    • In my opinion group rides are not adhering to the ‘spirit’ of social distancing. [Yes, while you are on the bikes, it is maybe ‘OK’. BUT, your ride automatically becomes an unnecessary social gathering as soon as you stop for food or coffee or for fuel together. (My riding buddies and I are cancelling our planned tour to the Lake District (England) in May 2020, even though we’ve been looking forward to this for most of the past year – but we have had no hesitation in doing so).

If you are showing any signs of infection, the UK government advice (currently) is you should be self-isolating : this means you should be staying at home.

The below guidance from NHS UK (21st March 2020)

You’ll need to stay at home if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone who does.

Staying at home means you should:

  • not go to work, school or public areas
  • not use public transport or taxis
  • not have visitors, such as friends and family, in your home
  • not go out to buy food or collect medicine – order them by phone or online, or ask someone else to drop them off at your home

You can use your garden, if you have one. You can also leave the house to exercise – but stay at least 2 metres away from other people.

[This last piece of advice (that you can leave the house for exercise even when self isolating) might mean we can still adhere to self isolating AND still get out for a ride. But again, if you stop for fuel, you could spreading the virus when you are handling the pumps.

For me, motorcycling has been good for my soul and has helped my mental health enormously on many occasions, but if I am required to officially self isolate – I will be staying at home and will not be riding my motorbike.]

Everyone, including motorcyclists should get to know the government’s guidance on social distancing (available here) and take every precaution when leaving the house.

If I am not required to self isolate (IE when I am healthy) – I may still go for limited solo rides but I am restricting how far I go, and will be very careful at fuel stations, avoiding close contact with other people. (I will continue to ride (solo) only as long as the UK Government does not impose a more strict travel ban).

What you do, is up to do you, but your decisions may impact others.

Ride Safe , Ride Smart.

Smart Motorcycling Guide.