Writing about bikes for 20 years. Published in dozens of titles on five continents. Mildly obsessed with discovering how things work.
The Premier of New South Wales in Australia has said that riding motorcycles is allowed as ‘exercise’ under lockdown rules there – but don’t try using that excuse here in the UK.
Speaking to radio station 2GB, Gladys Berejiklian said that police haven’t booked motorcyclists, likening it to riding an exercise bike. However, Australia’s lockdown and overall approach to Coronavirus has so far proved far more effective than the UK’s, with Aussie Prime Minister Scott Morrison recently confirming that Boris Johnson has asked for details on how the spread of the disease has been controlled there.
While motorcycling has clearly got health benefits, with riders burning around as many calories per hour as you would on a brisk walk, there’s little prospect of the UK government or the devolved legislatures in Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. Here, the government says that vehicles can only be used for ‘permitted’ journeys, and while it hasn’t published any list of approved exercises, its examples are walking, running and cycling. You’re allowed to ride your bike to a nearby area in order to exercise when you get there, but purely going out for a ride isn’t likely to be accepted as exercise in itself.
The Motorcycle Industry Association has also discouraged riding during lockdown, penning an open letter to the motorcyclists of the UK in which it says: “It’s great to see that most riders are complying with the Government’s instructions about essential travel and when riding are doing so responsibly, but unfortunately some are not.
“The sun is shining, you’re bored of lockdown, the roads are empty and your ride is itching to go. It’s very tempting, but before you grab your keys and helmet, consider this:
“As riders, we all have a responsibility to motorcycling, if it is to survive without restrictions. As riders, we are ambassadors for motorcycling and how we ride, what we ride and, at the moment, the fact that we are riding at all, creates a perception about us all. In the eyes of many, PTWs are noisy, anti-social, dangerous and often ridden irresponsibly. Is your leisure ride reinforcing that view?
“We know that bikes and scooters are perfect for self-isolation, but what if you have a breakdown or a puncture? You’ll probably need the help of someone to sort the problem.
If you haven’t ridden over the winter, you may be a bit rusty. It’s easy to get over-confident when the sun is shining and traffic is light, so what happens if you pitch off? Police, recovery truck, paramedics all involved. And you may have noticed that the NHS is a little preoccupied at the moment and could probably do without any self-inflicted cases taking up beds.
“For the good of motorcycling and its place in the future transport mix, let’s all stick to the rules on this. They don’t discriminate against riders, most leisure activities are disrupted, so clean your kit, watch MotoGP re-runs and wait until we can all get out on the road again.”