With the UK guidance around Covid-19 rapidly changing, it’s important to know what it means to riding your bike, as well as getting it serviced, MoTs and even training. While there are some key points that we should all be aware of regarding leisure riding, motorcycles and scooters remain a safer, more socially-distanced method of getting around…
Can I ride my motorbike during lockdown?
A motorcycle is of course a form of transport that can be used for any essential purpose in exactly the same way as a car or bicycle, but the government has said that non-essential travel should be avoided.
In his speech on Saturday evening (31 October), Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that “You may only leave home for specific reasons, including… For exercise and recreation outdoors, with your household or on your own with one person from another household.”
But updated guidance released on Monday 2 November states that you should ‘avoid travelling out of your local area, and look to reduce the number of journeys you make’.
The reasons for travel are listed as:
Travelling to work where this cannot be done from home
Travelling to education and for caring responsibilities
Hospital, GP and other medical appointments or visits where you have had an accident or are concerned about your health
Visiting venues that are open, including essential retail
Exercise, if you need to make a short journey to do so
It’s important to remember that getting fuel will expose you and others to the risk of transmitting or contracting Coronavirus, and if you do use the bike, avoid drawing attention to yourself through your riding style or noise.
Consider Boris Johnson’s closing words from his statement: “We are not going back to the full-scale lockdown of March and April. It is less prohibitive and less restrictive.
“Stay at home. Protect the NHS. And save lives.”
Will motorcycle shops and dealers be open for sales or servicing?
The servicing of Powered Two Wheelers is considered an essential business, so workshops can remain open (while complying with social distance and hygiene guidance).
Vehicle showrooms are specifically excluded from essential businesses that can remain open, but they can offer a click and collect or online service, and some have already established video call services, where customers can talk to a sales person and direct the camera to look at the machines on offer.
Many dealers are already set-up for delivery or click and collect of other products and kit, but customers will not be allowed to enter the premises, even to use the toilet.
Customers are advised to contact their local dealer before travelling.
The Motorcycle Industry Association (MCIA) is urging the government to recognise motorcycle and scooter retailers in England as essential businesses, saying that “Motorcycle shops are rightly deemed essential to support those for whom motorcycling is a viable commuting option.
Can I get an MoT during lockdown?
There’s currently no advice on the MoT tester’s official system, so as it stands we expect testing to continue.
If you do have an MoT due, call your local centre to check arrangements.
Can I get a CBT, bike training or take my motorcycle test during lockdown?
Despite motorcycles and scooters offering a socially-distanced form of transport with much less impact on the environment than cars and almost-empty busses, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency has suspended all Powered Two Wheeler training and testing in England between 5 November and 2 December. The DVSA says it will be contacting those affected.
Essential tips for motorcycle riders during the Coronavirus pandemic
Do NOT ride if you have any symptoms of Coronavirus
You must wear a face mask (or keep your full-face helmet on) when entering the service station to pay for fuel. Steamed-up glasses is not a valid disability that exempts you from wearing a facemask
The virus can linger on surfaces, so use the forecourt’s disposable gloves (often now a simple bag) over your bike gloves when handling the pump
Pay with contactless; most shops and garages now accept up to £45 for contactless payments, which is typically more than enough to pay for a tank of fuel
If you need to spend more, consider setting up Google Pay or Apple Pay on your phone – once unlocked, you can usually spend more this way than with a contactless card
Carry a facemask and hand-sanitiser at all times, in case you visit a shop or café
Think about taking a packed-lunch for longer rides
Keep two metres from others when off the bike
What do the new Covid-19 rules in Wales mean for motorcyclists?
With Wales now having exited its ‘Firebreak’ lockdown, motorcycle and scooter training has been allowed to resume.
From 9 November, the following rules apply:
No travel to or from England (unless there’s a ‘reasonable excuse’)You should still not enter other people’s homes, though two household bubbles can be formed
Up to four people can meet in regulated indoor places, such as cafés, restaurants and pubs, though alcohol cannot be served between 10pm and 6am.
15 people can meet indoors for organised activities such as gym classes
30 people can meet outdoors for organised activities
Non-essential businesses can reopen
Residents should still try to work from home
While there are no legal travel restrictions in place within Wales, the government is asking people to avoid non-essential travel as much as possible. It’s also important that English residents don’t go there.
What do the new Covid-19 rules in Scotland mean for motorcyclists?
Scotland has introduced a five level system, with people under level three restrictions or above being told to make only essential journeys. Those living in England should not travel to Scotland, except for essential purposes.
Eight people from three households can meet indoors, or fifteen from five households outdoors.
Six people from two households may meet in each other’s homes.
No indoor meeting with other households, six people from two households outdoors / in hospitality. Pubs, bars and restaurants can sell alcohol indoors only with a main meal and only until 8pm.
No alcohol to be served indoors or out. Cafés pubs and restaurants to close by 6pm.
All non-essential shops, hospitality and gyms to close. Some outdoor meeting allowed, schools to stay open.
What are the penalties for breaking the Coronavirus rules?
Failure to wear a mask or face covering in shops or other specified places could land you with a £200 fine for a first offence (double the previous level), doubling with each successive offence up to a maximum of £3,200. The same penalties apply to those breaking the ‘rule of six’, while businesses breaching the new rules face £10,000 penalties.