Guide to cycling safely during lockdown

Updated: 14th January 2021

After the initial UK lockdown in late-March 2020, cycling continues to play an important role in the national response to COVID-19. Read the latest government guidance

Cycling is an ideal form of transport for key workers undertaking essential journeys to work and visiting clients, for getting food, medicine and other essential supplies to vulnerable people who can’t leave their homes, and for people shopping for basic necessities. Along with walking and running, it is also recommended as a key way of getting your daily exercise outside. 

So, what are the rules and what is the is the cycling etiquette when you have to ensure physical distance during the third UK lockdown from 4th January 2021?

  • You can go out on your bike once a day. You are advised to stay ‘local’, but there is no definition of what that means and we interpret it as within 20 to 30 miles of your home.
  • You can ride with people from your own family and people in your support bubble. You can also go out with one person who is not in your household (and that can be a different person on each trip).
  • You can travel by car to spend time, or exercise, outdoors (e.g. to access an open space), but – again – you are asked to keep travel as local as possible.
  • Group riding is not allowed. 
  • Don’t go on pavements which have not been designated for cycling. Pavements are for people to walk on, and in Oxford, pavements are nowhere near wide enough to ensure a safe physical distance from people walking.
  • Avoid places you think might be popular (e.g. Shotover), or routes that might be busy (e.g. the canal path), and if you do go to those places, go earlier in the morning, or later in the evening.
  • Maintain physical distance when passing people on pavements by positioning yourself  further into the road as you pass (being careful to check that there are no other road users behind you). If you cannot avoid being closer than 2 metres, hold your breath; for their sake and yours. Don’t forget you are perfectly entitled to ride on the road, even if there is a cycle path, and you may find it easier to distance yourself from walkers in this way.
  • Keep your distance from other riders you don’t know. There is a potential risk from the ‘tail’ of breath following a rider, especially with exertion.
  • If you have touched items of shopping, or anything else on your ride, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands as soon as you get in. Remember to disinfect the objects you carried home, or put them in quarantine. 

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