COVID-19 | What does the latest advice mean for bikers?

What does the PM’s latest announcement around COVID-19 and the potential easing of restrictions mean for motorcyclists?

COVID-19 | What does the latest advice mean for bikers?

AS PM Boris Johnson gave his latest COVID-19 speech last night (May 10th), social media has been awash with motorcyclists who are both confused and relieved in equal measure.

However, a document providing greater detail of the plans was released on Monday and while it doesn't mention motorcycling directly, here’s what the new regulations mean for UK motorcyclists.

First and foremost, the plans the PM laid down are not beginning today, he states that could come into effect in England only on Wednesday – as long as the rate of infection remains on its current downward course.

Importantly, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales have maintained the existing restrictions around the 'Stay At Home' message and thus do not apply to Boris Johnson's new measures.

The first major change, that will alter the lives of a great number of people is the news that those who cannot work from home should be “actively encouraged” to return to work. Previously, non-key-workers who worked in an industry that meant they couldn’t work from home would have been unable to work or even placed on the furlough scheme.

The new guidance is stating that these people can return to work so long as social distancing is observed and their employer puts in place safety measures within the workplace.

People returning to work are being advised to avoid public transport for obvious reasons, making your bike the natural choice for health and convenience.

Another key point that will impact us motorcyclists is the news that from Friday we can now travel freely to “other destinations”. While this at first sounds vague, we take it to mean that trips, by motorcycle, car or otherwise, do not have to be limited to essential shopping trips and picking up of medicines for yourself or loved ones. It also goes hand in hand with the PM’s next point around exercise.

Here he states that from Wednesday the government “want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise.” Going on to say, “You must obey the rules on social distancing, and to enforce those rules we will increase the fines for the small minority who break them.”

What does the COVID-19 easing mean for pleasure riding?

The new guidelines also mean we can enjoy parks and public spaces without the need to be taking part in exercise at that time. Again, this will only be the case if social distancing is observed and we are mixing with members of our own households.

England-based bikers can venture out on the motorcycle freely to wherever they want from Wednesday, including beauty spots and social spaces, though the advice is to be cautious when doing so as these run the risk of being particularly busy.

Regardless, social distancing when arriving at your destination remains a must. While the new regulations allow you to meet people from other households, you can only meet one person in a public space and must maintain a two-metre social distance when doing so.

Another key part of the speech that could lead to things like trackdays beginning again stated that by July some of the hospitality industry and “other public places” could open again.

While it doesn’t mention tracks and trackdays directly – I’m not sure they are very high on the PM’s agenda – it would make sense, in my mind at least, to reopen those before pubs, clubs, bars and restaurants - where is easier to manage numbers, social distancing, and close contact.

Well, off the track it is anyway.

While the new guidelines look like a green flag to go out and ride, we would like to discourage any pleasure riding at this point. As the statement advises, this is to come into place on Wednesday so long as the rate of infection continues to drop.

It's also worth noting that all of us heading out to ride and cartwheeling our bikes in every ditch known to mankind is not going to look very good. If and when we are allowed to ride again, lets set an example. Steer clear of big group gatherings. Stay away from closed cafes and popular meeting points. Take it easy and don't be a dick, we might only get one chance at this!