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One solo ride per day permitted as UK goes into coronavirus lockdown

Joe Robinson
24 Mar 2020

Stricter guidelines will also allow bike shops to remain open as essential service

Stricter rules have been put on UK residents, including cyclists, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a firm three-week lockdown to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

In a televised address on Monday 23rd March, Johnson urged people to 'stay at home' as he banned all gatherings of more than two people and called for the closing of all non-essential businesses.

However, unlike more draconian measures of full lockdown in Spain and France, Johnson has permitted one form of exercise per day, per person - including cycling, while bike shops will be allowed to remain open.

If you choose to cycle, it must be taken alone or with somebody that you live with.

No guidelines were given as to how long or how far the ride could be although with limited services and restaurants and cafes shut, it would suggest rides are to be kept short and close to home.

As for bicycle shops, they have been deemed an essential service alongside the likes of petrol stations and pharmacies and will remain open until further notice.

In the official guidelines published by government, the potential for fines to be issued to those not complying are also an option. 

'Environmental Health and Trading Standards officers will monitor compliance with these regulations, with police support provided if appropriate. Businesses and premises that breach them will be subject to prohibition notices, and potentially unlimited fines,' the guidelines state.

Earlier in the week, The Bicycle Organisation called for all bicycle shops to remain open for as long as possible as a key service for NHS workers using bikes to get to work. 

'For NHS workers and other essential staff who do not have access to a car but need transport between home and workplace, cycling is a lower-risk, more convenient and more reliable alternative to using public transport,' The Bicycle Organisation said.

'As more and more public transport services are reduced or cancelled, cycling's role for journeys too long to walk becomes ever more important to maintain the resilience of the transport network,' it added.

Some calls for cycling to be curtailed have been issued by NHS staff and others within the wider cycling community who believe cycling could increase unnecessary strain on the healthcare system in the event of a cyclist coming off and injuring themselves at this unique moment of crisis.

Similar calls for the lowering of motor vehicle speed limits, more responsible driving or a curtailing of the use of motor vehicles altogether have been conspicuous by their absence.

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