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A Guide to Riding During COVID-19

By: Wade Thiel


You likely have seen the memes on social media encouraging you to get out and ride during the COVID-19 pandemic, but is that really a good idea? How do you do it safely and in accordance with local ordinances and laws? The true answer is it varies from place to place.

The good news is that with most states starting to reopen, you should be able to ride your motorcycle without any major issues. With that said, though, there are things you should think about before and during your ride. Here’s a quick guide to riding during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Abide By Local Ordinances

First and foremost, you need to be sure you’re abiding by the laws and ordinances in your local area. Look up the ordinances and laws for your particular city and state. Your local government should have information on its website about traveling during the pandemic. That is the place to go for that information.

If you can’t find that information on the website, then at the very least you should be able to get the contact information of someone to either call or email to find out specifics. Some states or cities will allow commuting on motorcycles and in cars. Others will have little to no restrictions. With all the variation here, it’s hard to make a blanket recommendation beyond saying for you to check with local authorities. I would caution you to just go for a ride without knowing for sure what is legal and recommended.

Avoid Large Gatherings

We all love biker events and gatherings, but the simple fact of the matter is that getting large groups of people together right now can be dangerous. This doesn’t mean you can’t ride with a friend or two. If riding two-up, make sure it’s someone you’ve been in quarantine with and who you know is not infected.

If you’re riding with other motorcyclists. Try to maintain a six-foot distance at all times. This should be easy to do if you ride in proper formation and follow the proper group riding strategies that work even when a pandemic isn’t going on. The staggered formation that is best for group riding will ensure you don’t get too close to those you’re riding with.

Also, having a full-face helmet or modular helmet should help shield you a little bit, though a mask is also a good idea and is recommended by health experts. There are plenty of face masks designed specifically for motorcyclists.

Ride a Loop the Begins and Ends at Home With No Or Few Stops

Now is not the time for long road trips. It’s better to ride a loop that starts at your home and ends back at your home with no or few stops along the way. Stopping for gas is unavoidable obviously, and some riders choose to use their motorcycle as a grocery getter.

Those things are okay, but try your best to avoid making many stops. If you’re going out for a ride, just go for a ride. Go out enjoy life on two wheels for a bit and then head home. Your motorcycle ride doesn’t have to coincide with making stops. Get out there, have a great time, and then head home.

Bring Hand Sanitizer or Disinfectant Wipes

As I noted above, sometimes you have to stop for gas. Sometimes you might ride to the grocery store to pick up a few things. If you do this, make sure you have hand sanitizer or disinfectant wipes with you. This will ensure you have a way to keep your hands sanitized and clean. It’s also easy. A small bottle of hand sanitizer will fit in any pocket, and wipes come in convenient pouches you can bring with you.

I also have to say, if you’re planning on going to the grocery or getting gas when you go out, it’s a good idea to wear a mask. They are recommended by health professionals and even required in some states. Riding without one is one thing, but if you’re stopping and going to a location where other people are, make sure to follow CDC guidelines around both mask-wearing and social distancing.

Fewer Cars on the Road Doesn’t Mean Hazards are Lacking

It can be a great time to ride because there are fewer motorists on the road overall. However, that doesn’t mean there are no road hazards out there. There are still other motorists, animals, potholes, and more. You still need to ride with vigilance and responsibly.

This means making sure you stay alert is as important now as ever. The last thing you want to do is take resources away from the healthcare system by requiring care due to an accident. Ride carefully and within the limits of the law. This is not the time to push limits or test your abilities. If you want to ride, and you’re legally allowed to in your area, I’m not going to tell you not to do so, but I will say to do so with caution and make sure to stay alert and ride safely.

Author Bio: Wade Thiel is an automotive and motorcycle journalist based in Indianapolis, IN. He runs the motorcycle blog Wind Burned Eyes.


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2 Responses

  1. What crap socially distancing is on a bike this is one of the biggest lies these Demoncrates have pulled of in decades .don't buy any of the BS these people are telling you

  2. Riding a bike during Covid 19 is a good thing–fresh air, sunshine and wind in your hair. Can someone help me understand how wearing a mask while riding a bike helps keep me or anyone I pass while on the bike any safer? While riding in a group, spacing and distance are important to help prevent accidents. Social distancing while on a bike, however, seems unnecessary. If I cough into the wind at 60 mph, my germs are dissipated into the air long before any riders behind me pass the area where I coughed. I'll continue wearing my personal protective gear to keep me safe when I ride, like a helmet and boots and leather, but I will not be wearing a mask.

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