How new Coronavirus lockdown restrictions affect motorcycling

John Milbank, BikeSocial Consumer Editor
bennetts_bike Consumer Editor of Bennetts BikeSocial, John's owned over 20 bikes, is a member of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators and part of the Motorcycle Crime Reduction Group
Coronavirus restrictions update tiers_THUMB

 

This article will be kept updated with any changes from the UK government

With England introducing a tiered system to Covid restrictions, it’s important to know that, while there are some key points that we should all be aware of regarding leisure riding, motorcycles and scooter remain a safer, more socially-distanced method of getting around…

 

What are the three tiers in England’s Coronavirus alert system?

This is how England’s tiered alert system is set out to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus…

Tier 1: Medium

Tier 2: High

Tier 3: Very High

No more than six people from different households to meet indoors or outdoors

No household mixing indoors

No household mixing indoors or outdoors at homes, in hospitality venues or in private gardens

Pubs and restaurants to close by 10pm

No more than six people from different households to meet outdoors

No more than six people from different households to meet in outdoor public spaces (eg parks)

 

Pubs and restaurants to close by 10pm

Pubs and bars not serving meals to be closed

 

 

Avoid travelling into or out of the area

 

Can I ride my motorcycle for leisure during Coronavirus restrictions?

Some details of the Tier 3 rules will be agreed locally, but as it stands, those living in regions under Tier 1 or Tier 2 restrictions have no reason not to use their bikes for leisure, but it’s very important to consider the implications of meeting friends.

In Tier 1 areas, keep your groups to six or fewer from different households – while you’re of course a long way away from each-other when riding, be aware of the situation when you stop together. Also keep in mind that we are all ambassadors for motorcycling, and some cagers still don’t get it; let’s make sure we all project the best of what riding is.

If riding to a popular bike meeting place, think about how it might look to those who don’t ride; to many, we’re all ‘just a load of bikers’, so try to help avoid creating the impression of a ‘a big biker gang’ that the tabloids will gleefully jump at.

If meeting friends for a ride in a Tier 2 area, don’t go into their house. And of course, if you live in a Tier 2 area, it’s been labelled that because the people there are at a higher risk of transmitting the virus, so don’t go into the house of someone in Tier 1.

Tier 3 is where the most important restrictions lie; travel into and out of these areas should be avoided, so if you are unfortunate enough to live in one that’s under temporary restrictions, you shouldn’t ride out to visit mates in Tier 1 or Tier 2 regions. Equally, those living outside the region are advised to avoid traveling into Tier 3 unless absolutely necessary, or when passing through as part of a longer journey.

With bikes having a relatively small tank range, do consider whether you need to enter an area, and remember that the restrictions are in place to avoid the transmission of the virus.
Ultimately, while some politicians and others struggling with common sense might find it confusing, the rules are about as simple as they can be in a drive to avoid another full national lockdown, which could be a disaster for millions of people’s livelihoods, our children’s education and the nation’s economy.

 

What do the new Covid-19 rules in Wales mean for motorcyclists?

From 18:00 on Friday 23 October to 9 Monday 9 November, Wales will be in a ‘Firebreak’ lockdown, with everyone being told to stay at home.

  • Those living in Wales can only leave their house to provide care or to buy essential food or medication. Travel for holidays is not permitted and they can only travel to work if a critical worker, or in employment that cannot be carried out at home.
  • Welsh residents may not visit friends or socialise indoors or out, even in public parks.
  • Those living on their own and requiring support will be able to meet one other household FROM WALES indoors.
  • Pubs, restaurants, beauty salons and gyms will be closed.
  • Welsh residents may leave their home for exercise, but running and cycling clubs will not be allowed.

For motorcyclists living in Wales, the rules are clear – use the bike for essential travel only, not for leisure.

Those living outside Wales must not enter unless it’s absolutely essential, which includes visiting family.

In addition to the above rules, it’s also worth noting that…

  • Local parks, playgrounds and outdoor gyms will remain open.
  • Primary school children will return to classes from 2 November (after half term), but only secondary school children in years seven and eight.
  • Childcare will stay running.

 

What do the new Covid-19 rules in Scotland mean for motorcyclists?

At the time of writing, cafés and restaurants in Scotland will only be able to serve food between 6am and 6pm indoors, or until 10pm outdoors. In Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran health board areas, resuratnts will be closed from 10 October to 26 October.

While general travel is still permitted in Scotland, in the regions above people are being encouraged not to travel outside their area unless necessary, and visitors are not permitted.

 

Tips for riding a motorcycle in the UK during Coronavirus

  • Do NOT ride if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus
  • You must wear a face mask (or keep your full-face helmet on) when entering the service station to pay for fuel. Steamed-up glasses is not a valid disability that exempts you from wearing a facemask
  • The virus can linger on surfaces, so use the forecourt’s disposable gloves (often now a simple bag) over your bike gloves when handling the pump
  • Pay with contactless; most shops and garages now accept up to £45 for contactless payments, which is typically more than enough to pay for a tank of fuel
  • If you need to spend more, consider setting up Google Pay or Apple Pay on your phone – once unlocked, you can usually spend more this way than with a contactless card
  • Carry a facemask and hand-sanitiser at all times, in case you visit a shop or café
  • Think about taking a packed-lunch for longer rides
  • Keep two metres from others when off the bike

 

What are the penalties for breaking the Coronavirus rules?

One of the big changes from Monday 28th September is the level of penalty that you’ll face for breaching the rules. For instance, failure to wear a mask or face covering in shops or other specified places could land you with a £200 fine for a first offence (double the previous level), doubling with each successive offence up to a maximum of £3,200. The same penalties apply to those breaking the ‘rule of six’, while businesses breaching the new rules face £10,000 penalties.

 

What can we all do to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus?

While confusion seems to creep in for many, the rules are simple common sense in order to limit the potential for deaths due to Coronavirus:

  • Wear a face covering in shops, on public transport (why would you be on there when you have a bike or scooter?!) and anywhere else you’ll be near others (besides home and school)
  • Wash / sanitise your hands
  • Keep your distance from others

 

Have YOU been affected by the Coronavirus restrictions? Let us know by emailing enquiries@bikesocial.co.uk

 

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