Is it safe to go for a motorcycle ride? Coronavirus (COVID-19) is affecting every aspect of daily life across the world. Self-isolation and social distancing pose practical problems, which most people have never experienced before.
Does this mean that all your individual motorcycling needs have to stop?
3, April, 2020, Update: Tips Added! And beware of the gas pump they are germ-filled.
24 March, 2020, Update: As a result, the new measures to control COVID-19 group riding in many countries is not recommended. In fact any vehicle use is to be for essentials.
Stay at home unless shopping for basic necessities, daily exercise, medical needs, care for vulnerable person and travelling to and from essential work (unable to work from home).
Furthermore, if you do venture out on your motorcycle, ride safely and in a way that will not result in injury and potentially add extra burden to the already overloaded health care systems.
However, with proper care solo riding could be safe – you need to make that decision. It is the best mental therapy and the reason many of us ride. Use these guidelines below, and this motorcycle rider’s Coronavirus Guide to be Coronavirus safe.
The Motorcycle Rider’s Coronavirus Guide
Based on the resource and recommendations by the World Health Organisation on COVID-19 (Coronavirus), I’ve compiled The Motorcycle Rider’s Coronavirus Guide. It contains the best recommendations and advice to help you avoid the threat of coronavirus and its spread.
Remember, the below are best practises, not guarantees. You’ll have to make your decision based the betterment for all, and what your country or local Health Authorities have advised. Remember we are in this together.
How does the Coronavirus outbreak effect motorcycle riding, and how can you minimise your risk as a rider?
Wear All Protective Gear And A Face Mask. Wearing a face mask, a bandanna or a balaclava will be a great safeguard and is a natural piece of apparel for most bikers. You’ve got protective gloves, boots etc. Your riding gear will keep you isolated and add separation to risk. And don’t use cash for fuel and food purchases but your credit or debit card instead.
Ride Alone. It may not be as fun as what you’re accustomed to, but unless you’re riding with someone you share a living space with, it’s not worth exposing your loved ones, or riding buddies, to potential risk. Do you really want to worry about wind speed and wind direction to avoid exposing each other? Keep the usual two second following distance rule from other vehicles you might encounter and allow the usual proper spacing.
Don’t Take Risks. It’s also not the time to ride long distance or try a new route. Medial resources are limited and constrained, and may not be available to you if you need medical attention due to an incident. You also don’t want to be in a potentially COVID-19 contaminated place even if there are emergency room doctors or nurses to attend to you.
Clean all “High-touch” Ride Surfaces and Levers. After your ride, especially if you did make a stop to a fuel station, clean and disinfect your handlebars, levers, etc. Also clean your helmet and wipe down gear. Research has confirmed the coronavirus can survive on hard surfaces, like plastic and metal, for 2-3 and four days when airborne
Keep these moto-cleaning tips in mind:
- Prioritise the surfaces you touch. Don’t forget buttons and switches, your mirrors – even your fuel tank, hand grips, levers, mirrors, fuel cap, etc.
- Soap is always your best bet. It is harmful to coronavirus. Good old-fashioned soap and water does the trick.
- Avoid bleach except on simple plastics.
- Don’t use solvents.
- Hand sanitizers contain alcohol, which can dry out leather. Use leather conditioner to keep it healthy.
- When in doubt, test cleaners on a surface that can’t be easily seen first.
- Wipe off what you wipe on; don’t leave chemicals to linger.
A list of products (North America) suitable for use against COVID-19 is available here.
What Do I do If My Motorcycle Breaks Down?
You would think with a large percentage of the population currently working from home and schools being closed that the roads would be quieter. It is important to consider that breakdown services will be under pressure, just like all other services and businesses at the moment.
Here an update from the Canadian Auto Service (CAA)
- Our Members continue to be impacted by this extraordinary situation and we have taken steps to ensure your safety and well-being.
- Road service will continue to operate without interruption. However, steps have been taken to prepare our roadside network:
- Drivers have been asked to limit physical contact with Members (no hand shaking).
- We have increased the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of CAA trucks.
- Best practices to reduce the risk of illness have been shared across the network.
How Many People Can I Ride With?
Well, what defines a group? That’s officially two or more people. The World Health Organisation advises not to be in groups of more than five people, which has recently been downsized from 10. (*Note: each country has implemented its own guidelines.) It would likely be safe to ride with one other friend, or your partner. Ride with someone whom you know well and isn’t considered a risk. You can still practise physical distancing. Naturally, the best method to reduce all risks, and stop the spread of COVID-19 is to stay at home. But if you need to ride, ride alone.
Will My Rider Training Course Be Cancelled?
Yes as any activity grouping people together has been banned by most governments. Do contact the training provider and most have a message on their website usually month by by. As some are registering postponement and others have implemented online or virtual theory training – already taking major steps to ensure customer hygiene and safety is priority.
I Need to Upgrade My Licence. Will My Motorcycle Test Be Cancelled?
It might be as in some parts of the world, schools and drive test centres have been forced to suspend testing for four weeks or more due to Coronavirus. Visit your local government websites to see updates, notices etc.
Can I Still Gas Up My Motorcycle At The Fuel Station?
Yes, but in this situation use self-service pumps and keep your gloves on or use disposable gloves when handling the pump and paying. You should still practice “social distancing”. It’s a great time to have pay-by-tap function on your credit/debit card. Be sure to be as contactless as possible. Avoid any human contact. When you fill-up and ride away remember not to touch your face, eyes, nose or mouth.
Fuel station gas pumps are filled with icky germs! 71 percent of gas pump handles are “highly contaminated” with microbes associated with illness and disease. (Study by the Kimberly-Clark Corporation)
Consider downloading an app-based payment system (e.g. Shell’s Fill Up & Go) which allow you to pay for your fuel on your phone. Here too if you do use an app, wash and or disinfect your hands afterwards.
Can I Get My Motorcycle Out Of Winter Storage?
Most motorcycle dealerships are now only open by appointment or have limited access. Just call ahead and find out the details when you’re ready to pick up and practise safe-distancing. More About “Picking Your Motorcycle Up From The Dealership”
What If My Motorcycle Needs Repair Or Service?
If you need standard service, contact your local dealership/mechanic and be advised to the steps they wish you to take to bring your bike in.
Manufacturer service intervals are important too but not a legal requirement. Check the small print of any service contracts, warranty conditions or similar to make sure that you are not obliged to have your service by a certain date. If you’re uncertain, call the dealer or manufacturer you bought the bike from to check.
But if you need a road certification/inspection depending on where you live, or if you are importing, selling, etc. due to uncertainty at the moment, it’s best keep your motorcycle off street and indoors.
Can I Buy A Motorcycle And Sell My Old One From Home?
Most retailers sell motorcycles online. You can buy parts, accessories, gear and in most cases partially exchange your bike. You can even sort out your finance deal, purchase the new bike and have it delivered to your door – without leaving your home. And this was all in place pre Coronavirus. And now everyone’s bumped up their online game so things move even faster.
What Happens If I Struggle With My Motorcycle Loan Monthly Finance Payments Due To Losses Incurred By COVID-19?
Your finance company will likely have a team within their customer services division which you can speak to if you are experiencing financial difficulties. Be sure to call them earlier rather than later to discuss your situation.
Use These “Stop The Spread” Basics:
- Avoid touching others. This includes shaking hands unless you have your gloves on. But even then if the virus is on your gloves and you touch your “runny” nose, this could leave you vulnerable for transfer. Just use our biker wave.
- Avoid touching your own eyes, nose and mouth. Keep a tissue handy for when your eyes might water or nose might run from the wind.
- Use hand sanitiser frequently. You can carry a small bottle in your jacket or under seat.
- Pack up! Take everything you need for the ride to avoid and minimalising pit stops in public places.
- Keep your distance. Stay at least 1.8 m / 6 ft away from the next rider.
- Cover your nose and mouth with your elbow if coughing or sneezing. Wash/scrub your hands (20 seconds minimum) immediately afterward.
- Avoid others who are coughing and sneezing. Keep the 1.8m /6 ft physical distancing length when at fuel or road side stops.
- Wear a bandanna over your face or a face shield / breathing protection such as your helmet.
- Avoid using cash.
For most of us, motorcycling, is our essential “therapy”. And with all we’re dealing with, a fun motorcycle ride can certainly pump up the positivity. Despite ride events being cancelled, incomes halting or tightening up, or work-from-home schedules altering our routines – hopping on your motorcycle and going for ride might be our best personal chance of – emotional survival!
I’ll keep adding to this page as the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic changes and new health guidelines are put into place.
Stay safe out there, and I’ll see you around the flattened and decreasing radius curve!