Guide to cycling safely during lockdown

Cycling is playing an increasingly important role during lockdown. The UK government has recognised cycling as a key activity (read the latest government guidance). 

It 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. 

You are recommended to leave home for one form of exercise a day. So, what is the cycling etiquette when you have to ensure physical distance?

  • People from the same household can ride together, but group rides are not allowed. 
  • There are no guidelines for how long, or how far, rides should be, but the expectation is that you should keep rides short and stay close to home. 
  • Don’t go on pavements which have not been designated for cycling. Pavements are for people who are walking and in Oxford they are nowhere near wide enough to ensure physical distancing for those walking.
  • Avoid two-way cycle paths, as you can’t keep your distance. Stick to quiet roads and one way cycle tracks. 
  • The Canal and River Trust has told people to avoid towpaths (read their guidance). Towpaths are narrow and shared with people walking; it isn’t possible to keep 2 metres apart and houseboat owners, who will also struggle to self-isolate and keep a safe distance.
  • Avoid places you think might be popular (for example, Shotover) and if you do go to those places, go earlier in the morning, or later in the evening. 
  • When you are on the road and passing people on pavements, move out further into the road to pass them (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.
  • 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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