How new Coronavirus lockdown restrictions affect motorcycling

Coronavirus restrictions update tiers_THUMB


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

The UK’s Covid-19 alert level has moved from Level 4 to Level 5, with England entering a national lockdown with immediate effect from 8pm, Monday 4 January, and rules stating that people should not leave home. Restrictions in England will be reviewed on 15 February.

1 in 3 people with the virus show no symptoms, so the risk of transferring it to those more vulnerable is extremely high. Hospitals are facing extreme difficulty, with most beds being taken and little to no space in intensive care units.

While some conspiracy theorists and deniers claim that hospitals are quiet at the moment, having been admitted late last year after a road traffic accident, I can say from experience that hospital corridors and entrances may seem empty, but A&E and the wards are in real difficulty. NHS staff are working incredibly hard, but it’s clear that the situation is dire.


What are the national lockdown rules in England?

For the full document explaining England’s new rules, click here. These are the main points:

  • You must stay at home to protect the NHS and to save lives.
  • You can only leave home to shop for basic necessities.
  • You can go to work or provide voluntary or charitable services only if you can’t reasonably do so from home.
  • You may exercise outside with your household or support bubble, or one other person once a day and in your local area.
  • Schools and colleges are shut for all but vulnerable children and those of critical workers.


Can I ride my motorcycle for leisure during the new Coronavirus lockdown?

If you’re volunteering to help others or for charitable purposes, you can use your motorcycle as you would any other form of transport. It’s a socially-distanced way to travel, and also remains a very good method of transport for those who still need to get to work.

However, leisure riding isn’t permitted, given the government’s latest ruling: “You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area. You should maintain social distancing.”

Further information in the latest document states that “It is against the law to meet socially with family or friends unless they are part of your household or support bubble. You can only leave your home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure (e.g. a picnic or a social meeting). This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

The rules also state that “You must not leave your home unless you have a reasonable excuse (for example, for work or education purposes). If you need to travel you should stay local – meaning avoiding travelling outside of your village, town or the part of a city where you live – and look to reduce the number of journeys you make overall.”


Can I still get an MoT during lockdown?

The England government’s latest paper says that “Businesses providing repair services may stay open, where they primarily offer repair services…” and that “petrol stations, automatic (but not manual) car washes, vehicle repair and MOT services, bicycle shops, and taxi and vehicle hire businesses” can also continue to operate.


Can I take a driving or riding test or lesson during lockdown?

The DVSA has released a statement confirming that all driving and riding tests have been suspended until the restrictions are lifted. Affected candidates or the school that booked the test will be emailed to reschedule.

All driving and riding lessons – including CBTs – will also not be allowed to take place until the restrictions have been lifted. This includes ADI (Approved Driving Instructor) part 2 and 3 tests, and standard checks.


Will there be an extension to CBTs if they expire during lockdown?

Despite the fact that many key workers will be commuting on scooters with a CBT, there is no extension on the validity of CBT certificates. Affected riders will be forced to use public transport, and should contact their local riding school to discuss a future appointment as spaces will get taken quickly.


What are the penalties for breaking the Coronavirus rules?

Fixed penalty notices of £200 can be issued for first offences, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.


What are the new Covid-19 rules in Scotland?

From midnight on 4 Jan, Scots will be ordered to stay at home, with meetings of up to just one person outside. The rules are broadly similar to those applied to England, though there’s no limit to the number of times you can exercise outside, and while construction and manufacturing remain open in both countries, most other services and stores will be closed. For Scotland’s full rules, click here.


What are the new Covid-19 rules in Wales

Wales has been under ‘stay at home’ restrictions since 20 December, and while schools were expected to return, this has now been cancelled. For more on the Wales Coronavirus lockdown as information is released, click here.


Tips for riding a motorcycle in the UK during Coronavirus

  • Do NOT ride if you have any symptoms of CoronavirusYou 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
  • Keep two metres from others when off the bike


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


Lockdown survey
956 riders completed a survey asking about their riding behaviour in the 2020 lockdown. Click here for the results.
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