How Covid–19 will Affect Motorcycle Riding
COVID–19 has had a huge impact on our daily lives. The virus has quite literally shaken the world to its core, affecting travel not only for work purposes but for leisure time too.
Everything from queuing at the supermarket checkout to catching a flight has dramatically altered. So, with everyday activities adapted to incorporate social distancing, what short and long–term effects will this have on motorcycling?
Fortunately, the very act of riding a motorcycle is the ultimate social distancing tool. Invariably, riders wear gloves, a mouth mask or scarf, and of course, a crash helmet.
While there is a reasonable argument for the positive protective properties of motorcycle safety gear, what about the actual ride? Here, we can categorise motorcycle riding activity into five different groups. Let’s take a look at how each may be affected.
1. Ride to Work
If your particular occupation is keeping your countrymen safe or ticking over during lockdown, then as a key worker, riding to your job shouldn’t be a problem.
Scientifically proven to have a positive effect on mental health by helping to relieve stress, riding a motorcycle to work during the COVID–19 outbreak is a plus.
2. Professional Riders
Riding a motorcycle for a living is a risky business, but never more so than during these troubling times. There are dozens of jobs that rely on motorcycles for transport.
With the world on lockdown, couriers in some cities are the only link to the outside world, delivering vital meals and supplies. In China, for example, people are only allowed out once every three weeks to buy food, so motorcycle couriers are proving a lifesaving service.
On the subject of life saving, let’s not forget the Blood Bikers. These are the riders, most often volunteers, who deliver blood or other emergency medical supplies to hospitals on two wheels.
Whether delivering meals or medical supplies, motorcycle couriers are potentially putting their necks on the line every time they make a delivery.
Currently, the majority of motorcycle couriers are classed as self–employed. In the UK, this means no sick pay if they become too ill to work. Add to this, the chance of contracting the virus due to increased contact with the public and riding a motorcycle for a living is more dangerous than ever.
3. Weekend Blast
Essential journeys, including exercise, have recently been exploited to bursting point by people driving from London to the Brecon Beacons for a walk! While this is a flagrant abuse of lockdown legislation, what is now happening to that favourite biker pastime; the weekend blast?
Whereas social riding was previously forbidden, with the announcement of new social distancing guidelines in England, more people will be taking to two–wheels as a healthy form of leisure and exercise.
In reality, this means bikers are now able to enjoy a weekend blast. So if you are living in England, it’s now okay to ride for social purposes provided you don’t gather with more than one family or household member. When not riding motorcycles however, it is necessary to remain two metres apart and use common sense.
4. Riding to a Show or Event
Unfortunately, riding to a motorcycle event or show, just like concerts and big sporting events, is off the table at present. Even with eased measures, a ban on congregating in large numbers will see this rule remain in force for the foreseeable future.
A life without custom bike shows, motorcycle racing, vintage bike events, and even auto–jumbles, seems almost beyond belief. If you just have to have that two–wheeled fix, all is not lost, though.
Static exhibitions like the National Motorcycle Museum in the Midlands, Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum in Hampshire, and a host of smaller ones throughout the country will presumably re–open their doors.
Touring, in the long–term, is one aspect of social motorcycling that may return, but perhaps not quite as we knew it.
As long as rider numbers are restricted, bikers keep their distance when taking breaks along the way and choose to stay under canvas; it may soon be possible.
Co–habiting couples or single occupancy tents on sites with limited pitches are safer options. Hotels and guesthouses will no doubt be subject to extensive hygiene rules and regulations, so it may take them longer re–open their doors.
In reality, due to COVID–19, all aspects of our everyday lives are altered for the near future. As bleak as this may sound, the stress–busting and natural social–distancing qualities of life on two–wheels may become a future win.