Guest post: BC Cycling Coalition’s COVID-19 and Active Transportation

Travel restrictions, social distancing, and stay-at-home orders have reduced our ability to move around freely.

COVID-19 suppression and mitigation are top priorities for our immediate future; as individuals and as communities, we must also address the social and health costs of reduced mobility.

“Confinement… particularly during times of anxiety, has health risks; physical activity reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases, several cancers, dementia, and diabetes”, note researchers in the UK.

While our patterns of movement and personal interactions must change to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, walking and cycling remain preferred options for any required travel; in particular, active transportation can help us all meet Canada’s physical activity guidelines.

If you have no symptoms, stay 2 metres (6 feet) away from others, and strictly follow Health Canada’s coronavirus disease (COVID-19) prevention rules, you can walk and cycle in support of your physical and mental health.

Walk or wheel as much as you can, to take a break from screens and sitting.

Sanitize all surfaces of a bicycle, both before and after use.

  • Wipe it down with alcohol-based sanitizer (min. 60% alcohol) or disinfectant; clean the handlebar/grips, tubes/frame, seat/saddle, gear shifts, bell, lights, packs/bags, and your helmet.
  • If you plan to stop and lock your bike, sanitize your lock and key before and after every use.
  • When locking your bike, maintain 2m (6 ft) distance from other bikes, as well as bus stops, benches, and other sidewalk or street fixtures.

Ensure the bicycle is in good working order.

  • See Bike Sense for tips on bicycle maintenance.
  • If your bicycle isn’t safe to ride and you’re unable to fix it yourself, avoid using it until a bike shop or repair service is available.
  • Do not risk any falls or crashes, which could result in your need for medical care.

When you ride, maintain your distance from others.

  • Give space when passing and when stopped.
  • Use your bell or voice to alert others of your presence.
  • Tap push-buttons with your foot or elbow, not your hand.

Don’t ride with others. #ridealone

 “The bicycle, being an individual means of transport, represents one of the most hygienic alternatives for the prevention of the virus, especially [when] it is recommended to avoid close contact and crowds.”

Bogotá Mayor Claudia López

Benefits of Active Transportation

In comparison to other travel modes, walking and cycling can provide additional benefits, both to individuals and communities, and society at large.

  • Active transportation limits carrying capacity, encouraging smaller purchases and less time spent in stores.
  • Shopping on foot/bike is a weight-bearing activity, which can increase your heart rate and blood flow, and strengthens muscle and bone.
  • Driving less reduces the risk of road crashes, and eases the strain on emergency response and healthcare systems during times of crisis.
  • Fewer motor vehicle trips reduces transportation-based emissions, which improves air quality for all British Columbians.

Stay in the Loop & Act with Care

Every British Columbian’s top priority should be to follow COVID-19 instructions from Health Canada, the BC Government, and your local community leaders.

The situation is changing quickly—check reputable news sources daily for the latest instructions about physical distancing and isolation in your area.

Part of a walking or cycling group? Postpone your events and gatherings until it is deemed safe to congregate, and talk with your insurer about your group coverage.

If you walk, wheel or bike, do it alone.

More information on COVID-19:

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