Cycling During COVID-19

Faculty and Staff
Sustainable Transportation

Doing your part to flatten the curve extends to reviewing your own cycling habits.  This Cycling Today article reports that Italy and Spain have banned all forms of bike riding and any outdoor fitness activity. While we are not currently subject to such a ban, states such as Maryland and Virginia have issued “stay-at-home” orders limiting travel to essential trips and exercise. If you are using your bike for one of these necessary trips or to stay active, it is important to adhere to the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for preventing the spread of coronavirus when cycling: 

  • Even while you’re on your bike, maintain 6 feet of social distance between yourself and others. Don't go on group rides. Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person via respiratory droplets. During increased physical activity, respiration increases and so does its associated droplets moving among people.
  • Wash your riding clothes, bike and other cycling gear when you return home from riding. Cycling increases the amount of respiratory droplets falling to various surfaces, including bike handlebars, an attached water bottle, clothing and more. The National Institute of Health advises that COVID-19 can survive for up to three days on a surface, depending on its material. 
  • Stay alert and cycle carefully. With the increased risk that cycling presents, however slight, getting into an accident that requires medical help diverts attention and resources away from those who need medical care for coronavirus.
  • Wear a mask. If you are cycling to a location where social distancing may be more difficult (grocery stores, pharmacies) new CDC guidelines recommend wearing a cloth face mask when in public. You can also read this Washington Area Bicycling Association blog entry titled Bikes and Masks which draws from advice provided by the CDC and other research published in the Washington City Paper and Bicycling Magazine. It contains informative advice, but always check your local rules that pertain to COVID-related precautions or restrictions when bicycling. 

Find more cycling tips and FAQs in this Bicycling article.