The coronavirus is here in America, and it’s quickly spreading from city to city, and state to state, causing country-wide panic and a rush for supplies. The rules and restrictions that are being put in place by the government seem to be changing daily and it can include travel restrictions, curfews, and self-quarantine recommendations. As more safety precautions come into effect, cities, and entire states and countries go on lockdown, and many people are self-quarantining due to the coronavirus outbreak, if you’re a rider then you may be wondering how will coronavirus affect motorcycling in 2020? This virus is a serious illness that can result in death in immune-suppressed people and the elderly, especially. With more safety precautions and strict rules of social distancing implemented, how does this pandemic impact the rider? Let’s learn more.
In the beginning, there were many people who didn’t pay attention to the progress of this virus, as it spread from one country to another. But now that the coronavirus is here in America, things are getting serious. Many people are afraid to leave their homes, while others are rushing out and buying and hoarding supplies, leaving the rest of us to go from store to store in the hope of finding what we need. Since times are tense, many people have chosen to self-quarantine. However, in the coming future, it may not even be up to you. The government is now stepping in to prevent many of its citizens from spending time in public places, traveling through the city for recreational purposes, or attending large events. But what does this mean for the motorcyclist?
This pandemic continues to spread worldwide panic as people stock up on supplies, avoid crowded places, avoid going to their favorite restaurant or bar, and stay inside where it’s safer. The pandemic has already caused the cancellation of many major events, causing a state of emergency in many countries and the closing of borders.
If you’re experiencing any of the signs of the coronavirus, then obviously, you should stay off your bike in order to avoid spreading the virus, in addition to getting the rest you need to recover. But if you’re not displaying any of the symptoms, then riding should be perfectly safe. A rider normally wears a face mask, as well as protective gloves. Riding itself can be considered a type of isolated activity and one that will keep you away from people, crowded places, and any other at-risk public places.
The Cancelation of Public Events
So far, the majority of planned public events for motorcyclists have been canceled indefinitely. This is a common occurrence that’s happening all over the world. Concerts, international travel, and strict restrictions are in place in order to discourage the public from gathering in a crowded place. The goal here is to minimize exposure to the virus. Unfortunately, people with flu or cold-like symptoms fail to quarantine themselves. Additionally, some people may be simply carriers and are not showing many, if any symptoms, so they head out to public places and unknowingly infect other people. Because of the seriousness of this pandemic, many major motorcycle organizations are shutting down events. So if you have plans or tickets for an upcoming event, you can expect a cancelation if there hasn’t been one yet. If your event has been canceled then you’ll
need to look into whether you’re getting a refund or if the event is going to be rescheduled for a later date.
Other Ways the Virus is Impacting Motorcycling
Italy has declared a lockdown of the entire country and is prohibiting any type of public gatherings. However, its citizens are still allowed to travel in limited situations for the purpose of work. Under new laws that have been implemented by the Italian government, people that are not following the laws will be fined and can even spend up to three months in prison, a place where the virus is no doubt running rampant. But can this happen in America? It’s already starting. Many major cities have gone on lockdown and require its citizens to follow a curfew. Travel within many cities has been limited to making food and supply runs, heading to work, or getting outdoors for exercise and isolated activities such as walking the dog or going for a walk. If this hasn’t happened to your city yet, be prepared for it. Lockdown requirements are spreading like wildfire.
So, what does this mean for the motorcyclist? This will depend on how strict the travel requirements are and how they’re enforced. Since riding a bike is a type of isolated activity, it may be permitted in your city or state. But you may also be limited as to where you can ride your bike. If these rules are being enforced and there are checkpoints, then you may only be able to ride your bike to work or for a quick supply run. Again, this will be heavily dependent on the rules that are put in place by the local government. Since riding a bike may be acceptable as an isolated activity, you may be totally fine taking your bike out for a joyride.
As new cases of the virus are continuing to pop up all over, you may want to store your bike and stay home anyway.
As I mentioned above, Italy is already on a total lockdown, with its people only being permitted to travel for proven work-related reasons or urgent situations such as food supply needs and health-related reasons. As an example, in some areas, shops that sell basic supplies are closed, so the citizens are forced to travel to another town to find what they need. In America, it hasn’t gotten to this point yet, but many people feel that it’s just a matter of time.
In times such as these, I recommend wearing the best full-face helmet. These helmets can provide a higher level of protection from the virus and can leave you more protected than a standard half helmet. You can also use a modular helmet, but you must refrain from opening the helmet when you ride or you’re at a stoplight. If you don’t have a full face model, then there are ways you can customize your helmet, such as wearing a mask that’s compatible or choosing a large visor that will provide an extra level of protection. To learn more read my article on how to select the right visor for your motorcycle helmet.
Can the Government Prevent You From Riding?
While we’re still behind Italy in terms of virus-positive cases, does the government have the power to prevent you from taking your bike out? The government does have the power to ensure you quarantine at a number of places including your home, if there’s a possibility that you may be infected with the virus and can infect others. The government also has the power to quarantine you if you’ve recently returned from an infected area or country.
This is why it’s so important to use common sense in times like this. If you have the virus or think you may be getting it, or if you’ve just come from an infected area, then it’s a good idea to stay off your bike and stay indoors.
A government has the power to restrict travel in emergency situations such as these. They also have the power to limit the size of public gatherings and this includes how many people are allowed inside a movie theater, bar, restaurant, or venue.
So, what happens to us if we ignore the restrictions that are set in place by the government? Is it as serious as Italy’s laws? Will we be fined or is prison time on the table? It’s possible. If a citizen knowingly ignores the restrictions, or they’re out and about during a time when travel is restricted, for no good reason, then they may be tried for this crime and fined. Because of this, it may be necessary to skip a joyride in order to avoid some serious consequences.
The Current Situation
As it stands today, there are some small and major cities in America that are on lockdown. This means people are restricted from traveling within a city without cause. Cities including San Francisco and San Diego are already on lockdown. Really, it’s only a matter of time before LA is on lockdown, considering they have the most cases of the virus than any other city.
There have been many rumors circulating, concerning a ban on domestic flights, but we’re still waiting to learn more in terms of travel restrictions. General travel restrictions are happening on a city by city basis. This could mean putting your bike up until at least May. We simply don’t know. Los Angeles announced today that they have a reported fifty new cases of the virus, which makes it a hotbed for contagion. If you don’t live in LA, I urge you to stay away and to also steer clear of any areas that have reported cases of the virus. Travel restrictions can change at any moment, whether it involves riding your bike, traveling through the city, and places that you’re not able to enter.
How to Stay Healthy
If you’re allowed to ride and you’re out and about on your bike, follow the tips below to stay healthy:
- Wash your hands thoroughly and often
- If you have some, use hand sanitizer frequently
- Avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes
- Avoid touching others, including hugs and handshakes
- Cover your mouth and nose if you sneeze or cough and wash your hands right away
- Avoid coming into contact with someone that is displaying symptoms such as sneezing and coughing
- Wear your bike mask at all times when you’re riding
- Avoid hanging out in large groups or riding with a group of your buddies
- Once a ride is over, make sure you sanitize your helmet, wash your face mask and gloves, and wipe down your bike with a safe disinfectant
So, how will the coronavirus affect motorcycling in 2020? We don’t know the extent of how the virus can have an impact on riding, but we do know that the number of cases continues to grow, which means we need to take certain precautions to stay safe, mainly staying indoors and away from the public. Thus far, any planned major motorcycling events have already been canceled. In terms of city-wide restrictions, there have been no restrictions implemented that will prohibit someone from riding their bike, however, in cities that are in lockdown, you may only be able to ride your bike for a specific purpose, such as going out to get supplies, going to work, or on your way to travel to take care of a sick family member. The restrictions are city-specific and are constantly changing as the number of infected continues to grow. To learn more about your state restrictions, the consequences of ignoring these restrictions and what to expect in terms of lockdown rules in the future, visit your state website. These sites often offer the most up to date information, so you can rest assured that you remain current and up to date with all the changes that are happening.