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Can I Ride My Bike During Lockdown? FAQ on UK Cycling Rules

After discussing my experience of the lockdown in Spain, I was relieved to see that the UK government will allow (for now at least) people to exercise outside during the coronavirus lockdown.

Indeed, Boris Johnson listed cycling as one of the three main exercise options (alongside jogging or walking) that people can do during this time.

So, while the likes of Italy and Spain have banned cycling, you are allowed to ride bicycle in the UK during the COVID-19 crisis. For now at least.

But there are some important rules…

Cycling Rules During Coronavirus Lockdown

Below I’ve taken a look at some of the main questions being asked about cycling during the COVID-19 lockdown in the UK, so that you know the dos and don’ts of cycling currently.

Can I ride my bicycle during lockdown?

You can ride your bicycle during lockdown for one of the following purposes:

  1. As your only form of outdoor exercise for the day
  2. To commute to work or to get essentials (e.g. food)

Can you ride in a group?

While people are allowed to cycle with people that they live with, it is otherwise not allowed to ride in a group. You should not ride a bicycle within 2 metres of anyone you don’t live with.

All competitive, registered or public recreational ride events have been suspended until (at least) 30th April. Likewise, all education cycling courses and programmes have also been postponed.

If you to help combat the spread of COVID-19 (and continue to enjoy the option of being able to cycle outside) please do not ride with other people.

How often can you cycle during lockdown?

The UK government announced you can do one form of exercise (e.g. cycling) once per day.

However, you are allowed to cycle more often if it part of an essential commute (i.e. to work or to get supplies).

How long and how far can you ride during lockdown?

While the government has not implemented a strict time or distance limit while cycling, people should aim to minimise the time they spend outside.

Where can you ride a bike during lockdown?

In theory, you can still cycle pretty much anywhere that you normally can.

Some exceptions are being made on a case-by-case basis though, due to large numbers of people conglomerating in these areas.

READ: Best Cycling Face Masks in 2020

Where is cycling banned during coronavirus?

Many parks have been closed during the lockdown due to high visitor numbers including:

  • All parks in Hammersmith and Fulham
  • All parks in Bristol
  • National Parks (including Snowdon)

Please check your local authorities for the latest guidance on open parks.

Are bike sharing schemes still open and available?

Bike sharing schemes have seen a spike in use recently, as people look to avoid public transport. Currently, most (if not all) bike sharing schemes (including London’s Santander Cycles AKA ‘Boris Bikes’) are open for use.

However, you should exercise extreme caution prior to picking up a bike and should definitely disinfect the handlebars before you start riding. Likewise, people take car to disinfect the handlebars after riding too.

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Are bike shops open?

Mostly, yes. Bike shops are one of the few small businesses to have enjoyed something of a boom in recent weeks. One of the largest bike shops, though, Evans Cycles, has said it will be closing it’s own stores for the foreseeable future.

Of course, it should go without saying that you should exercise extreme caution regards to hygiene and social distancing when visiting any bike shop and you should only go for essential trips.

How far is social distancing?

People are recommended to stay 2 metres apart from people they don’t live with at all times, including when cycling.

Above all, please exercise extreme caution during the current COVID-19 crisis. We need to act responsibly in order to help stop the spread of this virus.

Remember to thoroughly wash your hands before and after riding – especially if you are using a shared bicycle – and always maintain at least a two-metre distance from people you don’t live with.

What’s more, it’s vital to minimise your outdoor activity as much as possible. In Spain, we’re not allowed outside to exercise and it’s frustrating. Please act responsibly so that the UK government isn’t also forced into banning people from going outside.

Stay safe and healthy.

READ: How COVID-19 Has Caused ‘Pop-Up’ Bike Lanes to Appear Overnight

Pete Reynolds


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Pete Reynolds

Pete is the co-founder and editor of Discerning Cyclist. He commutes by bike daily from his home to his co-working space. Originally from Wirral, UK, Pete now lives in Spain. When visiting a new city, Pete loves nothing more than to explore it on two wheels. See Pete's Muck Rack profile

7 Responses

  1. Gary Moon says:

    Hi thanks for this, I’m still commuting as I’m a Key worker (social care)

  2. David Tobin says:

    I’m a postie and still get to commute at 5.30 , just starting to get sunshine. Glorious.

  3. Brady says:

    2 metres doesn’t sound enough when cycling at perhaps 12mph. If the person in front were to sneeze or cough you would be in the wake of that 3 times more quickly than if walking at 4mph. So perhaps we should be thinking 6 metres?

    • Hey Brady,
      Yeah, that’s a fair point. I imagine people aren’t really cycling in clusters right now anyway, but yeah – the more distance the better.

  4. Dan Back says:

    I like surfing, live 10mins drive from the beach and I’m not allowed to exercise 100m away from the nearest person in the Atlantic Ocean ….On the other hand cyclists can pair up and jolly off down often dangerous country lanes 2m apart and cover serious mileage, gobbing and puffing to their hearts content and that’s ok coz a surfer, should they get into difficulty could put rescue folks at risk…Is this really thought through ???? what a load of complete BS …this government is a joke.

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